Gnocchi the wonder pasta!

So the lovely Ben and Linh asked me to make some Italian food for them. I thought, why not try something I’ve never tired out on dinner guests? What could go wrong? So I had some potatoes and, well, I heard you could make amazing yumminess with them. I thought, why not? I have heard that gnocchi was hard not only to pronounce (nyo kee) but also to make. It really isn’t that hard but you’ll have to be careful to follow my directions…EXACTLY!

Ok, so first go find an old Italian women with nothing to do and have her teach you everything she knows about making gnocchi. If that falls through, read on.

2 pounds of starchy potatoes (2 large russets)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup of flour
 salt  to taste.

The first thing you’ll need to do is put a pot of water on that can submerge the potatoes. Wash those little russets off, cut them in half and toss them in. Salt the water and watch it boil. Once it is boiling it should take about 30-40 minutes to boil the potatoes. Once you can stick a knife through one with a little resistance they are done. Be careful not to overcook them. This will ruin you gnocchi. Once they start absorbing too much water this will adversely affect your final product.

Next take the potatoes out of the water and skin those naughty potatoes like you’re taking off a lover’s clothes. Quickly and with reckless abandon! No really do it quickly cause they will be hot and you will burn your hands. SAVE the potato water in the pot.

Then take the potatoes and using a potato ricer (I don’t even know what that is) (UPDATE from Simone: Ricer) or a fork shred the potatoes into tiny pieces. You want to make sure that there are very few big lumps here. DO NOT put it in the food processor. You will ruin the gnocchi.

Once they are all shredded, mold them into a mound, yeah, like the scene in Ghost. You all know what I’m talking about. Make a little divot in the middle and pour in the egg and sprinkle the whole thing with about half of your flour. Using a knife cut and scrape the flour into the dough. Once it is all incorporated it should be a nice light fluffy dough. If it is too sticky add more flour, but you already know that.

Now divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a long snake about 1/2 an inch wide. Now chop up that little snake, cutting it into 1 inch pieces. Once you have all of this done you’ll realize why you don’t make gnocchi for just anyone. It’s a labor of love.

Take each piece and roll it on a fork to give it little grooves. This step can be skipped if you are pressed for time. Then boil the water and toss in the gnocchi in batches of about 20.

When they rise to the top of the water, they’re done! Congratulations.

You’ve done it. Though there is an Italian grandmother somewhere rolling her eyes.

Simple pesto
Mix together:
1 bunch chopped basil
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbs of raw pine nuts
3/4 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano
2 Tbsp (to taste) Extra virgin olive oil
1 Juice from a quarter of a lemon

Use the tomato sauce from Melanzane alla Parmigiana.

We made both!  Happy Ben and Linh!
Apply the sauces to the gnocchi in a bowl and mix. Yumm. We applied on top because Linh didn’t want it to be all or nothing. I know Simone, you are supposed to always mix pasta with the sauce in the bowl!


Labels: potatoes, Italian, pasta, gnocchi

4 thoughts on “Gnocchi the wonder pasta!

  1. I know it might seem rude or something, but I read your posts more for your writing than for your recipes.

    "Next take the potatoes out of the water and skin those naughty potatoes like you're taking off a lover's clothes."

    It's good stuff, I tell ya.

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