What are gnocchi? Gnocchi are Italian potato dumplings that are actually quite easy to prepare. The biggest hurdle is achieving the proper texture. Gluten formation is the main culprit to gummy gnocchi. The two most important things to remember when making these delicious dumplings are to (1) remove as much moisture as possible from the potatoes as they cook and (2) do not over knead the gnocchi dough.
Gluten formation requires both water and agitation. Poking holes in each potato, cutting them open once they’ve been baked and chilling the riced potato help to reduce moisture. Work slowly and gently when kneading the dough. As soon as the ingredients are completely combined stop kneading. Paying particular attention during the steps above will move you down the road toward perfect, pillowy gnocchi.
This recipe serves two people as and entree and four as an appetizer.
|BASIC GNOCCHI DOUGH|
|Russet Potatoes||2 lbs.|
|00 Flour||3.5 oz.|
|Parmesan Cheese, finely grated||1 oz. (.25 cup)|
|Fine Sea Salt||.5 tsp.|
|Nutmeg, grated||1/4 tsp.|
|Garlic. minced||2 cloves|
|Fresh Sage, chopped||1 tbsp.|
|Extra Virgin Olive Oil|
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Poke a few holes in each potato, then bake them in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. The flesh inside should be completely tender. Cut the potatoes in half and let some steam escape. When they’re cool enough to handle scoop the potato meat into a bowl. Toss the skins or reserve them for another use (like stuffed potato skins).
Pass the scooped potato through a ricer and onto a sheet pan in a thin layer. Allow the potato to cool in the refrigerator for an hour or so.
Once chilled, spread the potato out onto the counter and then evenly distribute the flour, parmesan, salt and nutmeg on top.
Carefully begin to incorporate the ingredients using a fork or a bench scraper. When the ingredients are mostly incorporated finish the job with your hands, but be careful not to over knead the dough. Stop just as the dough comes together and it’s a cohesive mass.
On a clean and floured surface cut off some dough and begin to roll it out into a ½ inch diameter log. Cut the log into 1-inch pieces. Roll each dumpling down a gnocchi board or down the back of a fork.
Finely chop up the fresh sage and garlic, then reserve the items.
Bring salted water up to a light simmer, then drop the gnocchi in and cook until they float to the surface.
While the dumplings are cooking at the extra virgin olive oil to a saute pan over medium heat, then add the fresh sage and garlic. Saute until the garlic is soft…just a minute or two.
When the gnocchi are ready, strain and add them to the saute pan. Add a few knobs of butter, little bit of pepper and some chicken stock. Give the pan a quick toss and maybe a swirl to help emulsify the sauce. Finish it off with some grated parmesan cheese, season it with salt to taste and enjoy!