I love Italian food. It is my favorite…ok, I have a lot of favorites, but it is up there for sure! My brother lived in Italy for 2 years and I was lucky enough to go back with him for a fun trip after we graduated college. We had a great time touring the country. I loved everything about Italy, but the food was my favorite. Gelato number one and gnocchi number two!
My favorite meal was in Cinque Terre, which is along Northern Italy’s Rivera coast. After a long day of hiking, we settled down at a fine restaurant. We had a table outside with a lovely view. With my brother’s assistance, I ordered homemade gnocchi with pesto. The little potato dumplings were fresh and oh so tasty. I had the perfect meal, in the perfect place.
Ever since then, I have had a longing for good gnocchi, but it is hard to find. The store bought stuff doesn’t do it justice. Since we are newlyweds and can’t afford to travel to Italy every week to eat gnocchi…we decided to make it ourselves. How hard could it be, potatoes, flour, salt???
We purchased a potato ricer for this cooking adventure. You want to make sure the potatoes are really smooth!! You don’t want chunks in your gnocchi! The recipe is basic, but getting the right combination of flour and potatoes is the tricky part. You don’t want the gnocchi to be mushy, but you don’t want them to be dry and tough either.
We rolled out one rope and tested the gnocchi. I recommend doing this. Ours were mushy at first so we had to add more flour. Once you get the right consistency you can roll out the rest of the ropes and cut away! It was fun! We did the traditional “fork” trick so they would look authentic:) It only took a couple of minutes to boil them. We served the gnocchi with a roasted pepper sauce. So good!!
All said and done, I was impressed with our first gnocchi adventure. Of course, it didn’t beat my meal in Italy, but I don’t know if I can ever top that one!! We will be making these again…and again!
2 pounds Russet potatoes
1 1/2 cups flour (you might need more, add it slowly though)
1 ½ teaspoons salt (or to your taste)
Wash potatoes and place them in a large pot of boiling water. I salted the water. Boil until tender, about 45 minutes. When soft remove them from the water and let cool.
- Peel the potatoes, and then pass them through a potato ricer, into a large bowl. (If you don’t have a ricer, use a food mill or try grating them. I hear it works.) Let the potatoes cool to room temperature.
- Add salt to the potatoes. Next, add the flour a little at a time, using only as much as you need so that the dough will not stick to your hands. When the flour has been incorporated, bring the dough together with your fingertips.
- Dump the dough and any remaining floury bits onto a slightly floured surface. Knead the dough as you would bread dough
- Form the dough into a ball and then divide it into six smaller balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the six pieces using your fingertips into a long rope about 3/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into 1 inch pieces. Before we did all of the dough we tested the gnocchi. Roll out one rope and cut a piece off. Place it in salted boiling water. If it is too mushy, add more flour to the rest of your dough. We had to add more flour so I am glad we tested it outJ
- When all of your gnocchi is cut, press each piece of dough against the tines of a fork. With your finger, gently roll the pressed dough back off the fork. This takes a little practice. If you find the dough sticking to the fork, dip the fork in flour before you press the dough against it. It gives the gnocchi a nice look!
- To cook the gnocchi, place them into a pot of boiling and well-salted water. After a few minutes the gnocchi will float to the top. Continue to cook for one minute then remove and set aside.
- To freeze gnocchi-lay them out on a baking sheet, in a single layer. Freeze for about one hour and then place into freezer bags. When you are ready to cook them, don’t defrost, just follow the cooking instructions above.