Growing up I had an obsession with gangster movies. It started when I was like ten years old and my film buff of an uncle showed me Reservoir Dogs. When my parents picked me up from his house later that day and I started telling them my favorite lines from the too-grown-up-for-me movie I had just seen, they knew he had corrupted me. My parents were pretty bummed that I now wanted to trade in my Disney princesses for mob dudes, but I’m happy they let me watch all the shoot-’em-up movies I wanted. It made me a more well rounded child, I think.
So, When I used to think of gnocchi, my brain would first think of The Godfather 3, which, by the way, never see. Truly awful. It was the world’s first introduction to Sofia Coppola. She was sitting on a table in a velvet black dress, looking drop dead gorgeous, rolling gnocchi. While the movie was a total bust and super sad because it could’ve been good, the gnocchi scene is still one of my favorite food scenes.
If you’ve ever made gnocchi, it’s hardly diffcult, but much like pupusas, it’s very touch and feel. And I do think making it for the first time might be a little intimidating, so I figured doing a little how to on making gnocchi might be helpful.
Gnocchi begins by roasting starchy potatoes. In this instance, I used good ol’ russett potatoes. They take about an hour to cook all the way through.
A little slice in the top releases some of their steam so you can handle them.
I used to make mashed potatoes by mashing them with one of those hand mashers, but ever since I started using this potato ricer is a dreamy kitchen tool.
All of the potato gets scooped out and put through the ricer.
It’ll come out in pretty little strings that are ridiculously fluffy.
Personally, my favorite gnocchi is gnocchi that’s light and fluffy.
Some people love using an egg, but I’m more of a fan of the potato and flour combo. I find it lighter and more pillowy, which I think is the ultimate goal with gnocchi.
Half of the flour is added to your kitchen counter or cutting board and the riced potato is poured out.
The next step is kneading the potato and flour together.
This is when it’s very much by touch. If it’s not kneaded enough, the dough won’t stick together; if it’s kneaded too much, the potato will turn into a gummy mess.
I go little by little until everything starts to come together.
After it’s kneaded a few times, the rest of the flour is added.
A bit more kneading…
And then the test! A small piece of gnocchi is rolled out, cut and dropped into a pot of simmering hot water.
If the gnocchi falls apart, then it wasn’t kneaded enough, which is totally fine because you have the rest of the dough to correct.
You know the gnocchi is perfectly kneaded when it rises to the top of the pot after a minute or so and comes out only slightly ragged around the edges. A little bit of raggedness is fine.
Then the rolling and cutting of the rest of the dough happens.
Roll some more.
And cut. Couldn’t be easier!
After your gnocchi is cut, you could make it right away, or you could freeze it for later. Like, make a big batch, flash freeze it and then whenever you’re hungry, boom! dinz!
Tomorrrow I’m going to share a sauce I paired it with. Hope you found this a little helpful. And I hope this means gnocchi is in your near future.
- 2 pounds about 2-3 russet potatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until they're tender when poked with a fork. This should take about one hour. When the potatoes are done, immediately slice them open to let the steam out.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add a few pinches of salt. Scoop out the potato flesh and transfer it to a potato ricer or food mill. Push that thing down and repeat until you've passed all of the potato through the ricer. Sprinkle the potatoes with the salt and adjust according to your liking.
- Sprinkle 1/4 cup of flour onto your clean counter or cutting board. Knead the potatoes with it, sprinkling in the remaining 1/4 cup flour, until the dough just comes together. If it's still pretty shaggy, add more flour one tablespoon at a time.
- Now for the test! Pinch off a piece of dough and roll out into a tube. Cut it into a few pieces and boil it to make sure it holds its shape. If it falls apart in the water, this means you'll knead the dough a bit more. When right, the gnocchi will float to the top and look a little ragged, but hold together, when ready.
- Roll the rest of the dough into ropes that are about 1/2-inch thick, then cut the ropes into 1/2-inch lengths. Transfer the gnocchi to a parchment-lined baking sheet, being sure the gnocchi don't touch each other.
- Add the gnocchi to a boiling water a few at a time. Adjust the heat so the mixture doesn't boil too vigorously--it should be more like an aggressive simmer. When the gnocchi rise to the surface of the water, they're done. Remove them with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer and transfer them to your sauce or to a paper towel.
Adapted from Mark Bittman