If you've never had freshly made gnocchi, you're in for a treat. Derived from an Italian word for "a knot in wood", these little potato dumplings are Italian comfort food at its simplest.
Sure, you can get pre-made gnocchi at the grocery store, but if you want them to taste like the delicate little potato pillows they can be I suggest you make them yourself. Like the frittata, gnocchi can be dressed many ways with your favorite sauces. Plus, they can easily be frozen for later use.
At first, I thought making gnocchi would be pretty difficult. I was anticipating a big sticky mess on my hands, literally. But actually, the whole task was quite simple- it took more time to boil the potatoes than it did to knead the dough and shape the dumplings!
Here's what you need for the gnocchi:
To get started, cook the potatoes in salty water until fork tender- you want to keep the skin intact to lock in all those good starches we need. In the mean time, take your flour and make a nice little flour crater. Or well. Whatever.
Next, while the potatoes are still hot, incorporate the flour and potatoes together until they're just combined. Don't over do it or they can get gummie! The pastry scraper I got for Christmas was wonderful for this task- highly recommended!
Plop these little darlings into a raging pot of boiling water and skim off the top as soon as they pop to the water's surface. Toss them directly into your sauce of choice and you have dinner! Might I suggest a sage brown butter or a creamy Gorgonzola sauce? Maybe a tomato sauce, or a simple dusting of cheese on the lighter side.
Check in tomorrow to see how I made the delicious tomato sauce in the photo!
2lb Russet potatoes
2 c all-purpose flour
1. Clean potatoes, leave skin intact. Cover potatoes with cold, salty water and bring to a boil. Cover pot and let cook 30-45 min until fork tender.
2. Dump the flour into a mound on the counter and circle your hand around in the middle to form a well.
3. While potatoes are still hot, peel them with a paring knife using a kitchen towel to hold the hot potato.
3. Press the potatoes, in halves, through the potato ricer into the middle of the flour well.
4. Incorporate the flour into the potatoes, a little at a time, until it is just combined using a pastry scraper as needed.
5. On a floured surface, form the dough into a brick and cut into 6 even segments with the pastry cutter.
6. Roll each segment into a long snake, 1/2" wide and cut into 3/4" pieces.
7. Roll each piece over the back of a fork to shape and place on floured kitchen towel.
8. Toss the dumplings into salted, boiling water.
9. Skim each gnocchi off as they float to the top of the pot. Toss directly into sauce.