Gnocchi – Little Puffs of Pleasure and Delight
Gnocchi are known by many names. They are Dumplings, Brotknödel, Quenelles, and some just know them as belly bombs. Belly bombs because they must be made fresh, whether they be made with flour, potato, or bread, if the gnocchi are not made just right they expand and fill you up leaving a bloated feeling.
In Italy gnocchi are part of the regional cuisine in many different areas. Sometimes the Gnocchi are the star of the plate while other they are a base for some delicate or savory sauce. Gnocchi have the unique quality of accentuating flavors and never dominating. Somehow they seem to adapt to the other ingredients in the plate. Thursday is Gnocchi Day and today it is with meatsauce
The trick to Gnocchi is good ingredients and balance. Choose the potatoes well. Make sure they are all of the same size and follow the method of preparation to the letter. In our home Raffaella makes the Gnocchi. This is her domain and her recipe.
1 lbs. 1 oz. (500 gr.) of small or medium potatoes
125 gr. Flour
2 Egg yolks
a pinch of salt
Extra flour to work the dough.
Note: A word about the potatoes. The potato is the most important ingredient for gnocchi. The potato should be a white potato. We prefer the Russet from Idaho of small dimensions. The potatoes must be of the same size.
Wash the potatoes. Do not peel them. Steam the potatoes over a slow boil with the skins on. It will take about 20 minutes to cook the potatoes, somewhat longer if the potatoes are bigger. The potato should be just cooked. Overcooking will cause the potato to absorb too much water and the Gnocchi will be like rocks.
While the potatoes are still hot, remove the skins and mash by hand with a potato masher. Raffaella uses a thermal glove to remove the skins. Add all of the ingredients together in a bowl and mix. A dough will form. Move the dough onto a floured surface and knead the dough until it is soft and pliable but not sticky.
It is extremely important that the dough remain warm. Roll into a large log. Cut a piece off of the log and roll the piece into a long log about ½ inch thick. This would be about the width of an index finger. With a pastry knife cut the log into ½ inch pieces. Place the cut pieces onto a floured baking pan and leave the gnocchi to rest for about 30 minutes before cooking.
Personal Note from Raffaella: making gnocchi is easy, but not at the beginning: practice makes perfect gnocchi!!! In fact the trick is to recognize when is the right moment to stop adding extra flour because the dough has the right consistency; usually that happens after 3 or 4 times.
Bring abundant salted water to a boil. Place the gnocchi in the boiling water. The gnocchi will float to the top when done. This will take about 3-4 minutes. With a wire cooking ladle or a strainer remove the floating gnocchi from the boiling water. Tap the ladle on the side of the pot several times to help drain the water from the gnocchi before placing them in the serving dish.
Add the desired sauce and serve hot!
Tags: Gourmet Foods Gnocchi Dumplings Primi Piatti Italian Recipes Food and Wine Travel Italy