I have never eaten gnocchi from a packet and I seriously hope after you read this you won’t either…
When I was little one of my favourite things to eat was gnocchi… except the uncooked version sitting on Mum or Nonna’s kitchen bench waiting to meet it’s fate in a giant pot of salty boiling water! I thought an afternoon of boiling potatoes, combining them with flour and rolling then cutting the dough was the only way you could get gnocchi (or eat out), and I think I was about 18 when I realised you could buy it in a packet.
I get that not everyone has the time to make gnocchi, but to me if it’s not made by hand it’s just not the same.
One of my very first blog posts on pizza base (titled ‘All About That Base’, a sign of the times…), resulted in a healthy handful of friends trying pizza base when they never had made it themselves before. This made me super happy and smiley to think that I actually did teach someone something – pizza bases are so EASY to make! Much like gnocchi, I’ve never understood why anyone buys them.
So this recipe is written very similarly to that pizza base one – it’s rough, it’s loose, you need to get a feel for it and get the hang of it (it took me a while too), and you might have to boil up a couple, adjust the dough, try again… but you’ll get there and when you do, it’s worth it.
- 8 Potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 whole eggs (optional - see notes)
- White flour
- Boil the potatoes in well salted boiling water until tender, but not mushy.
- Mash the potatoes or for the smoothest result, push them through a sieve.
- Lay the potatoes out on a large, clean bench and allow to cool.
- Add the 2 eggs and mix through (with hands is best)
- Start to add the flour, a little at a time and mix through gently (do not work the dough like a pizza, just gently fold until it's JUST combined).
- Keep adding flour until the dough is no longer sticky. This part takes a bit of practice - too little and the gnocchi will be too soft and fall apart. Too much and they will be hard. I am for a feel of play dough that's been left in a warm spot for too long (that's the best comparison I have!). If you're unsure, have a small pot of boiling water on hand and drop a couple in when you think they're ready. You can always add more flour, but you can't take it out!
- Once you're happy with the consistency of the dough, roll out small lengths and with a butter knife, cut into small dumplings (slightly wider than the width of your thumb). Rolling them over a fork to get the marks is what I always do, but it's not necessary.
- Gnocchi should be cooked in a large pot of well salted (like the sea) boiling water. Once they float to the top, they should be done, but I always wait 15 seconds just to make sure.
- To avoid them getting squashed, lift them out with a slotted spoon into your bowl or a pan with sauce waiting.
Last night’s gnocchi was served in our house with a tomato sauce that I cooked for hours (crushed tomatoes, garlic, onion, tomato paste, red wine, olive oil and fresh oregano), but gnocchi can be served with anything you’d serve pasta with.
Note – the reason eggs are optional is that not everyone puts eggs in their gnocchi (I’ve made it without several times). When I don’t put egg in, I add a little self raising flour to the flour mix (just a couple of tablespoons). Again if you’re unsure, test in a small pot of boiling water as you go, but gnocchi definitely can be vegan!
I am NO gnocchi expert (I’ll leave expert status to my Mum and Nonna!), but if I can do it anyone can – trust me! I have NO patience and find it a miracle every time I make gnocchi and they work out…
And now for a little share of my Instagram story – gnocchi all ready to go (yes I ate some raw and yes you have to flour your work surface very heavily!)
Have a great week!
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