Homemade Gnocchi

Chris and I went to Whistler and Vancouver the first week of January. His birthday is on New Years Eve and since everybody always makes their own plans to celebrate, it is always hard to get a big group together to celebrate his birthday. Our solution to that is go somewhere new and celebrate together. My favorite meal while in Whistler was Gnocchi Pomodoro from Quattro Restaurant. I had some other great meals and one terrible, expensive and highly yelp rated meal but I will save that rant for my Whistler and Vancouver post.

As soon as I got home, the first thing I did was make a HUGE batch of gnocchi. Gnocchi has ALWAYS been my favorite Italian dish. When I was little, I would always go to Roma D’Italia in Tustin and order Gnocchi Cantanzaro. It was my own personal heaven. I didn’t know it then, but it is the easiest Italian dish to make at home and gnocchi goes in ANY sauce you can think of. Homemade Gnocchi I loved our waiter at Quattro. We talked about how I love to cook and how gnocchi is one of my favorite things to make. He told me how one day he went back into the kitchen and the chefs taught him to make the same gnocchi I ate that night. He claimed it is the best in Canada. He said the best piece of advice he could give anyone making gnocchi is to NEVER over work the dough. As you go, you’re going to want to make sure everything is perfectly mixed, but when you over work the dough, the dumplings get dense and chewy. The best gnocchi is light as clouds.

Here is how I make gnocchi: Add water and salt to your pot with the potatoes and bring to a boil. Anytime you boil potatoes, you do not want to bring the water to a boil then add the potatoes because they will not cook evenly.  Remove the potatoes from the water and peel as soon as they are cool enough to handle. By leaving the skins on, the potatoes don’t become water logged.  When peeling, you want to make sure there is NO skin left on the potato, if there is, you will have dark spots in your gnocchi. Homemade Potato GnocchiIn a large bowl, mash them until quite smooth. I use a potato ricer for gnocchi and mashed potatoes, because the texture of the potato becomes perfectly smooth and silky. There is no substitute for me, but you can mash them with a fork until completely smooth. Potato RicerPotato RicerPerfectly Smooth, Potato Ricer Add two cups of all-purpose flour and season with salt, to taste. When I say “to taste”, taste it… like right now. The dough should taste good. If it is bland add more salt. Potatoes are very bland so I get aggressive with the salt because they need it. Start with a tablespoon and add more until it tastes yummy!Flour In Potato GnocchiPotato Gnocchi Dough Beat one whole egg and mix into the dough. Remember, at this point, don’t over mix!! The egg acts as a binder for the dough, so it doesn’t fall apart when you cook it again.  Egg in Gnocchi Dough Break the dough into pieces and shape into long rolls about the thickness of a finger. Cut the rolls into 1 inch pieces. Gnocchi Rolled OutGnocchi Cut Into 1 Inch PiecesGnocchi Cut Into 1 Inch PiecesPotato GnocchiIf you don’t have the time or patience to make the indentations characteristic of traditional gnocchi, you can leave the pieces as is. That’s what Quattro did and they are a 4 star restaurant; I am sure you can get away with it too. Roma D’Italia always had the indents and I think it adds character so I added indents to mine. You can buy a gnocchi bored to roll the gnocchi down, but that seems like a waste of money to me. In culinary school the teach you to do it with a fork. I tried the fork method and it SUCKED. Like seriously, horrible. The indents were barely there, I kept squishing them…. ugh talk about annoying. So I thought about it for a minute and said there is no way I can keep doing this, but I want the indents so bad…. what to do…. then I thought “hey, my whisk has perfectly spaced steel wires, I should try rolling it down the whisk exactly like a gnocchi board”. Bam! Best cooking short cut I ever thought of.  Gnocchi Board ReinventedHomemade Gnocchi, Gnocchi Board WhiskGnocchi Board Whisk Spread the gnocchi out on a cutting board or baking pan to dry, about 20 minutes. Once dried, you can cook right away or put in a freezer bag and freeze until the next time you want fresh homemade gnocchi.   Drying GnocchiDrying Gnocchi When you want to cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the gnocchi a few at a time and remove them with a slotted spoon as they rise to the surface, draining them well. Put them into your favorite sauce or go simple and put them straight into your serving dish, dress with melted butter and Parmesan cheese. Buon Appetito!

Homemade Potato Gnocchi

3 lbs potatoes, washed and unpeeled

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 whole egg

Salt

Add water and salt to your pot, add the potatoes and bring to a boil. Anytime you boil potatoes, you do not want to bring the water to a boil then add the potatoes because they will not cook evenly.  Remove the potatoes from the water and peel as soon as they are cool enough to handle. By leaving the skins on, the potatoes don’t become water logged.  When peeling, you want to make sure there is NO skin left on the potato, if there is, you will have dark spots in your gnocchi. In a large bowl mash them until quite smooth. I use a potato ricer for gnocchi and mashed potatoes, because the texture of the potato becomes perfectly smooth. There is no substitute for me, but you can mash them with a fork until completely smooth. Add two cups of all-purpose flour, and salt to taste. When I say “to taste”, taste it… like right now. The should taste good, if it is bland add more salt. Potatoes are very bland, I get aggressive with the salt because they need it. Start with a tablespoon and add more until it tastes yummy! Beat one whole egg and mix into the dough. Remember, at this point, don’t over mix!! The egg acts as a binder for the dough, so it doesn’t fall apart when you cook it again.  Break the dough into pieces and shape into long rolls about the thickness of a finger. Cut the rolls into 1 inch pieces. If you don’t have the time or patience to make the indentations characteristic of traditional gnocchi, you can leave the pieces as is. You can buy a gnocchi bored to roll the gnocchi down, but that seems like a waste of money to me. In culinary school the teach you to do it with a fork. I tried the fork method and it SUCKED. Like seriously, horrible. The indents were barely there, I kept squishing them…. ugh talk about annoying. So I thought about it for a minute and said there is no way I can keep doing this, but I want the indents so bad…. what to do…. then I thought “hey, my whisk has perfectly spaced steel wires, I should try rolling it down the whisk exactly like a gnocchi board”. Bam! Best cooking short cut I ever thought of.  Spread the gnocchi out on a cutting board or baking pan to dry, about 20 minutes. Once dried, you can cook right away or put in a freezer bag and freeze until the next time you want to eat gnocchi. When you want to cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the gnocchi a few at a time and remove them with a slotted spoon as they rise to the surface, draining them well. Put them into your favorite sauce or go simple and put them straight into your serving dish, dress with melted butter and Parmesan cheese. Buon Appetito!

One response to “Homemade Gnocchi

  1. Pingback: Canada Ehh? Whistler + Vancouver = Adventurers Haven | Small Taste Of Adventure·

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