So fresh gnocchi in a restaurant just beats the hell out of any kind of store-bought gnocchi. Hands down. But like many of us, I can’t afford to go out to a nice restaurant and order gnocchi every time I get the craving. Believe me, it’s often [potatoes are one of my favorite substances, and pasta is right up there too. Obviously pasta made out of potato is even better].
So thus the making of the gnocchi began.
We started by baking a potato. Which of course is way easier and quicker in the microwave than in the oven (sorry, purists, I’m impatient). It should be good and cooked, so that it’s super easy to mash/crumble up [see above]. Added flour, eggs, and then… rolled into long ropes.
And then cut into pieces! It ended up being super simple, and having a very capable friend around to help with the rolling was nice. Oh and also because there are about a million pieces that it would have taken forever to cut into individual gnocc’s. Is that the correct word? I think it might actually be gnocco. But gnocc’s sounds fun too.
When you’ve got yourself some individual gnocc’s, you can do the fancy thing and roll them along the tines of a fork to make them textured. But we were (1) lazy and (2) starving, so that didn’t happen. Plus, they look like miniature pillows, so we thought that looked acceptable too. Try it out, maybe do half textured/half not? See if there’s a taste difference? I sense a randomized experiment is needed.
To cook the gnocchi, boil a big pot of water (you don’t want the gnocchi to get stuck to one another, so make sure it’s got plenty of space). When boiling, individually plop the gnocchi into the water (watch out for splashing!) and wait until all the gnocchi float to the surface. They’re done when they float.
As a bonus: we threw some fresh broccoli pureed with some pecorino on top (see Hiding Vegetable in Pasta, pt. 2)– definitely tasty, though it might not have been the prettiest thing in the world. But who doesn’t need extra fiber, Vitamin C, and phyto-nutrients, am I right?
2 large potatoes (Russet? anything starchy really works)
1-2 cups flour
Bake the potatoes, either the oven or the microwave, until they’re definitely soft and mashable. Peel them, being cautious of the hot temperature (try holding with a kitchen towel).
Put the potatoes into a large bowl, and either using a potato ricer or a masher, mash them until they’re the consistency of little peas. A fork works too, for the less-equipped cooks out there. Sprinkle some salt on top, then add about a cup of flour. Mix with your hands until combined. Working swiftly, add in the egg and stir to combine.
Adding the flour by small amounts (~1/4 cup at a time), work the mixture into a dough by hand until it forms a ball. Be careful not to add too much flour – you don’t want the dough to crumble.
Tearing small pieces of dough off, roll with your hands into rope-like pieces that are about a half-inch in diameter. Using the back of a knife, cut into individual pillow-like pieces. Optional texturizing step here: roll each gnocco against the tines of a fork to leave the characteristic ridges. Place (don’t drop!) individual gnocchi into boiling water, making sure to keep them separate. It might help to pour a little olive oil into the pot to prevent sticking here, too. Work in batches so that there’s plenty of room in the pot.
When all the gnocchi rise to the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon and serve with sauce of choice. Or try with some salt, pepper, and olive oil for a super simple meal!