Gnocchi are Italian dumplings, often made with potatoes and flour, although other varieties exist. They are soft, but firm enough to hold a robust sauce.
I made gnocchi once before. It was when I was a student, living in a small apartment with a tiny kitchen. When I say tiny, I mean tiny! I remember the gnocchi was pretty good, but I had nothing to compare it to. I had also made the full batch, and after reading articles online thought I would freeze the remainder, but that was such a bad idea. I ended up having a big gooey mess when I cooked them from frozen.
Forward to 2013… 12 years on from the first time I made gnocchi. A lot of things have happened in those 12 years, including improving my culinary skills and experience with food, I took the original 2001 recipe and modified it, in ways that I thought would improve the gnocchi:
How the potatoes were cooked:
- 2001: peeled, cut, boiled and mashed
- 2013: microwaved in skins, peeled and passed through a ricer
How leftovers were kept:
- 2001: frozen individually -> gooey mess when boiled from frozen
- 2013: cooked as normal, tossed in olive oil, and refrigerated. Reheating in the microwave creates delicious gnocchi, as if they were fresh
The result? Delicious soft potato pillows.
For the best gnocchi, choose floury potatoes, such as King Edward, Maris Piper or Russets. It also must be noted that moisture is the enemy for gnocchi. Boiling potatoes is not a good idea. I had thought of steaming them, but it would take forever, so the microwave came in handy. Since moisture is such a problem with gnocchi, it is best to cook them pretty soon after making them.
This gnocchi freezes well. Once cooked, I tossed them in olive oil before freezing them. To reheat, do not thaw, but heat in a microwave from frozen.
PERFECT POTATO GNOCCHI
Adapted from Ultimate Recipes: Italian, Paragon Publishers
- 1 kg (2.2 lb) floury potatoes, such as King Edwards, Maris Pipers, or Russets
- 60 g (4 tablespoons) butter
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 300 g (2 c) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Scrub potato skins, and prick each potato with a fork. Cook in the microwave using the “baked potato” function, if available; alternatively, place onto a plate, cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and microwave for 5 minutes on high, or until cooked all the way through.
2. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel the skins off. Press the potatoes through a rice directly into a large bowl.
3. Add the salt, butter, egg, and half of the flour, mix well to bind. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead, gradually adding the remainder of the flour. The dough should be a smooth, soft, yet slightly sticky.
4. Flour hands, and roll dough into 2 cm (3/4 inch) thick rolls. Cut into 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) pieces. Press the top of each piece with floured prongs of a fork and spread out on a floured tea towel (kitchen towel).
5. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Lower heat to a simmer, add the gnocchi and cook in batches for 2-3 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Remove cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon and place into a warmed greased serving dish*. Serve with your favorite sauce. Enjoy!
* To freeze, cool under cold water, strain and toss in olive oil. Freeze. When ready to eat, cook from frozen, by microwaving the portion until heated through.