Gnocchi (pronounced ‘ɲɔkki ) means dumplings in Italian (gnocchi is the plural of gnocco, which literally means ‘lump’) – made of potato and flour (there are different variations) that Pierre and some of my friends love so much. It’s amazing how many food in common my friends have with my better half. It’s just so weird at times 🙂. Now, here’s how our gnocchi adventure started:
A few days ago, while I was chatting with my friends on-line, I got a message from Pierre with a link to an article from Le Monde newspaper. I did a quick read through without really noting anything special about it. After a long silence from my part, Pierre asked me from his desk excitedly : Did you read the article I sent you ? to which I answered Yeah, so ? and he was going Well ? …me : hmm… not bad. At this point, he was getting a bit exasperated at my air nonchalant. Him: Isn’t it cool that she made gnocchi herself ? with that hopeful look in his eyes. I was about to say hmm, yeah. So ? again when it finally hit me. Oh you mean you want me to make these gnocchi ? … now tell me, how can I say “no” to that “excited wishful puppy” look. 😁
Makes : 4 – 6
- 1 kg old potatoes
- 200 g Plain flour (approx.)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 egg
- Wash the potatoes and cook them (with the skin) in a pot of salted water.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them slowly (to keep them warm) as you peel each potato skin off while it is still hot.
- Flour the work surface and mash the potatoes over it using a potato masher or a food mill.
- Sprinkle half of the flour on the mashed potatoes, make a well in the middle and add in an egg, 1 yolk and a pinch of salt.
- Mix the potato-flour mixture together with your hands and slowly add in the rest of the flour as your work on till it forms a dough.
- Continue adding flour a little at a time while kneading the dough, until the potato dough is no longer too sticky but firm and is soft and fluffy – avoid incorporating too much flour.
- Cut the dough into a few smaller portions. Then sprinkle the work surface with a little flour, and place the first piece on it.
- Roll the dough into one or two long sticks approximately 2 cm (¾ inch) in diameter. Then cut it into pieces ¾ inch (2 cm) long and then roll it into a round oval shape in your hands.
- Roll the pieces along the prongs of a common fork using one finger, in a way so that the side of the piece running along the fork will be ruffled and the side you are pressing with your finger will be a little concave. Or simply press the gnocchi with your thumb with a rolling motion to create a small concavity.
- Spaced the gnocchi on a piece of cloth. Let it stand for 1 or 2 hours.
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Once it is boiling, drop the gnocchi in a few at a time to avoid damaging them.
- After about 1 or 2 minutes the gnocchi will float to the surface, this means that they are cooked.
- Remove them as soon as they float to the surface with a large slotted spoon or strainer, draining thoroughly. Do not let the gnocchi overcook.
- Serve it immediately with sauce.
- Melt the cheese in a bain-marie (double boiler) with crème fraîche till well blended.
Wow! It’s a million times better than the prepackaged ones. Everybody loves it, even my picky 1 year old baby. It’s soft and taste like thick pasta with a slight potato flavour. It is not chewy like those industrial ones from the supermarket. I personally love it – I wasn’t a fan before but now I’m converted (and I’m not saying this because it’s me who made it !) Pierre and our guests had theirs with the Gorgonzola cheese sauce while I had mine with crème fraîche mixed with a bit of butter (not a fan of blue cheese).
Regarding the preparation itself, I made them using fresh potatoes because I didn’t understand what it means by “Vieilles pommes de terre”. I thought it was some special type of potatoes. I just didn’t make the connection between “vieille” and “old” in English. (I know, I know… silly me, go ahead and have a good laugh – I don’t know where was my brain that day). Next I over mashed the potato in my enthusiasm that it became a puree. And I should have worked the dough on a work surface instead of a big bowl. In the end, I had to use almost 500 g of flour to get a nice dough – over twice what the recipe said.
By the way, rolling the gnocchi on the fork to get the shell-like shape takes some practice but you will get the hook of it pretty fast. Or you can just simply imprint your gnocchi with your fork or thumb.
I’m so glad that with all the silly mistakes that I made, they still turned out great 🙂. That made my day!
Don’t drain gnocchi in a colander as you would do with pasta. Gnocchi are very soft and may be damaged.
It is preferably that you use old potatoes which have higher starch content than fresh potatoes and avoid my mistake.
The classic accompaniments of gnocchi are tomato sauce, brown butter or sage sauce, or melted butter and cheese.