Gnocchi are varieties thick, soft dumplings, that can be made from ordinary wheat flour, semolina, potato with and without egg and flour. The favorite variety is potato gnocchi which are traditional eaten as a first course as a substitute for pasta or soups.
They are commonly served with various tomato sauces, pesto, cheese and melted butter.
Gnocchi are easy to make, but hard to make well. It takes some practice to get the texture right. It is essential to use older floury potato varieties such like russets for gnocchi to ensure the dough is light and airy and the boiled gnocchi and light and delicate and not rubbery. This article describes how to make potato gnocchi at home. Enjoy!
Fill a large vessel with cool salted water. Cut the potatoes in half, put them in the pot and heat to boiling and cook the potatoes for 40-50 minutes until the potatoes are just tender.
Remove the potatoes from the water, one at a time and peel. Or you can peel the potatoes before cooking them.
Mash the potatoes while still hot using a ricer, other type of masher, or a fork.
Don't over-do the mashing. You want an even consistency with no noticeable lumps but not a paste. Save the potato water.
Spread the mashed potatoes out across the cutting board and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
The potatoes need to be cool enough that when you add the egg it won't cook when trying adding it to the potatoes.
When the potatoes are at the right temperature pull the potatoes into a soft pile. Add the beaten egg and sprinkle 3/4 cup of the flour over the top.
You can use a metal spatula,wooden spoon or large pastry scraper to mix the flour, potatoes and eggs.
The action required is to scrape beneath the potato and fold, then repeat the scraping and folding until the mixture has the consistency of a light crumble. With a very light and gentle tough knead the dough.
Add more flour, just a small sprinkle at a time, if the mixture is too moist and sticky. Expect about 1/4 cup flour to be left over - don't make the mixture too dry. The dough should be moist but not sticky, and not too dry.
Cut the gnocchi mixture into eight pieces. Then roll each piece of dough into a log shape resembling a snake, roughly about as thick as your thumb.
Use a knife to cut off pieces every 3/4-inch (18 mm). Dust all the pieces with extra flour.
To form the gnocchi shapes, take a fork in one hand and place a gnocchi piece shaped like a pillow between the tines of the fork and your finger or thumb, with cut ends of the piece sticking out. Press in and down with fork so that the gnocchi curls into a shallow "C" shape.
The impression of the fork tines will create tiny ridges on the back of the gnocchi. When formed and shaped place the gnocchi onto a plate and dust with some extra flour. The shaping takes some practice, so persevere and you will eventually get the idea.
Reheat your potato water or use a fresh pot of salted. Bring to a boil and cook the gnocchi in groups of 10-20, by plunging into the boiling water. When they are cooked they will pop to the top. When all the gnocchi have been floating on the surface for about ten seconds remove them with a slotted spoon.
Place the cooked gnocchi onto a large heated platter ready to serve with your favorite sauce such as pesto. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of extra virgin olive oil on top.