Potato gnocchi – Gnocchi di patate
This is a real classic of the Italian cuisine and one of my favorite dishes ever. It takes a little time to prepare them but they are easy to make and more than worth the effort. In Verona every year we have a Gnocchi festival called, “Venerdì Gnocolar” during the carnival season, where it’s a must to eat gnocchi.
2 lbs – 2 oz. whole baking potatoes
1 beaten egg
2-1/4 cups flour
pinch of salt
1. Boil the potatoes whole with the skin in salted water until cooked.
2. Once cooked drain the potatoes and then peel them being careful not to burn yourself.
3. Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer and into a bowl.
4. Add the flour, egg and a good pinch of salt.
5. Mix until you have a nice pliable ball of dough.
6. Prepare a work area and dust it with flour.
7. Take the dough, a piece at a time, and roll it out with your hands until you have rolls about 3/4 inch in diameter.
8. Cut the tubes of dough into pieces about one inch long.
9. With a fork, holding the tines against the work surface, use your finger to press a piece of dough gently against the fork and roll it slightly then letting it fall to the table.
10. The result should be gnocchi with an indent on one side from your finger and a pattern on the other side from the fork.
11. Handle the gnocchi carefully so they don’t loose their shape. Place them on a lightly flour plates. Keep them apart so they don’t touch one another or they’ll stick together.
12. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and then add the gnocchi carefully a plate or two at a time. When they float to the surface they are ready just remove them with a slotted spoon and set them in a strainer to drain off the excess water.
13. Add more gnocchi to the water and serve the others right away.
You can serve gnocchi a lot of different ways. A classic in my region is with cinnamon or butter and sage. Other sauce that go well with gnocchi are; tomato sauce, ragu sauce, pesto sauce and four cheese sauce. If you want to serve the gnocchi up faster use more than one pot of boiling water. Of course if you have someone who can give you a hand things will go much faster.
I suggested baking potatoes because they are starchy and make good gnocchi. Don’t use red potatoes.
The gnocchi can be prepared ahead of time and then stored in the refrigerator for a few hours if necessary. Then all you need to do is cook them at meal time.
If you want you can use the back of a cheese grater in place of the fork to give the gnocchi different pattern.