1.31.2010

Potato Gnocchi - Recipe


Making gnocchi has been on my list of things to try making since Panama. Oddly Panama is where I learned about gnocchi. There is an Italian restaurant in Panama City called Rino's. Jeff and I found excuses to go to Rino's. It wasn't an amazing restaurant, but it had classy decor and reasonable prices. And they had carbonera sauce on the menu that you could pick your own pasta or gnocchi. It's the best comfort food: gnocchi a la carbonara.

Then I met Danielle, a volunteer for another NGO in our valley who was Italian, but her parents were Swiss bankers and she was living in the community west of ours almost in the Kuna Yala; a very interesting gal. She mentioned she had made gnocchi for her host mom. She said it wasn't hard. And I mentally filed away gnocchi as something I could try making myself.

A couple years passed and then this New Year's Sarah and I chose an Italian theme for our dinner party. Gnocchi was on the list of food to try. It got cut when we finalized the menu because we already had ravioli which kind of covers the time intensive pasta dish. I guess gnocchi isn't technically pasta. It generally gets defined as potato dumplings.

I still had gnocchi on my mind and yesterday I finally got around to trying my hand at it. I checked all my cookbooks for recipes. They all called for using potato ricers which I don't have - this is supposed to give you a dreamy light pillow of potato. So I turned to the internet. Man, there are a lot of sweet potato gnocchis out there! I finally found Smitten Kitchen's Gnocchi blog post and recipe. Deb lives in a tiny New York apartment and she doesn’t have all those extra kitchen gadgets either. Her recommendation was to grate the potatoes. So that's what I did.

Gnocchi is only three ingredients and is conceptually easy to make. It just takes a lot of time to bake the potatoes, then grate them and create the dough, knead then shape all those little dumplings. I started at 2:30 and we finally ate dinner at 7:00. I'm thinking it might be easier to bake the potatoes a head of time and then make the dough and form the gnocchi on another day so I don't feel like I spent the whole day on it.

I used these Russit potatoes that I bought in December. I stored them in the basement, but you can see they are starting to sprout! Sprouted spuds are actively converting their starch to sugar to energy to grow out their eyes. Not ideal, but I didn't want to waste them. I broke off their eyes before I baked the potatoes. (I like the one that looks like its got vampire fangs. I think he was in the dark too long.)

The gnocchi did turn out like little bites of creamy potato goodness. They are easily as good as Rino's gnocchi. And the bacon butternut squash carbonara sauce I made to go with it was delicious.

Now here's how to make gnocchi with a grater - I did adjust the recipe slightly from Smitten Kitchen.

Gnocchi - Italian Potato Dumplings
6 medium Russit potatoes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
Step 1: Bake the potatoes in the oven. Pierce the potatoes with a fork, then place them on a tray in the oven at 375 degrees for about an hour or until the potatoes are soft. Check to make sure the potatoes are done by sticking them with a knife. The blade should go in and come out easily when the potatoes are baked through. Allow the spuds to cool.

Step 2: Peal the potatoes and then grate them using a coarse (large holes) grater. Make sure the potatoes are cooled so you don't burn yourself. Consider baking the potato a day ahead of time.

Step 3: Using a wooden spoon mix the egg and salt with the grated potato. When this is well mixed slowly add in the flour and keep mixing.

Step 4: On a floured countertop turn out the potato dough and knead like a yeast bread for about 5 minutes. Add flour as needed to keep the potato from sticking to the counter. Then divide the dough into eight balls. Use your hands to roll each dough ball into long skinny rope (about 1/2 inch in diameter). Cut the rope into 1 inch cylinders.

Step 5: Using the tines of a fork press the gnocchi to give it ridges. You may need to dip the fork in flour so it doesn't stick. Place the gnocchi on a cookie sheet in a single layer as you finish shaping them. You can cook them now or freeze them on the cookie sheet then move them to freezer storage container once they are frozen solid.

Step: 6: To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. When the pot has a nice rolling boil, drop the gnocchi in. The gnocchi will sink and then after a couple minutes float to the surface. The gnocchi is done one minute after it starts floating. Strain out the gnocchi and your ready to serve!

33 comments:

  1. so funny that you learned to make gnocchi in panama of all places! i love the stuff, but my brother is the king of gnocchi. i swear he could eat like 10 pounds of it! yours look so nicely done, very professional :). the vampire potato is cracking me up

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  2. Scary potato! My husband and I tried to make butternut squash gnocchi once and it didn't turn out so well... Yours look really good! :)

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  3. I've only made these once in my life but still like to tell people about it :) These look great!

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  4. i first saw nigella lawson making gnocchi and since then i just love making them..its super fun..my sister and i love making and eating them :) lovely shape u got there ...usually mine doesnt come all great !!

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  5. I like the vampire potato too. Very cute. You know now that you post this I'm not sure I've ever had gnocchi! I will have to try them.

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  6. Just so you know, your fanged potato looks a lot like a walrus.

    astro-knot on blogger

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  7. mmmm. that doens't sound so hard. i like gnocci - will definately have to try it.

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  8. I've been wanting to make gnocchi for the longest time. In fact, I just bought a potato ricer a few days ago just for that purpose! Your gnocchi look great!

    P.S. Did you know that the word "gnocchi" is the plural form of "gnoccho", so the word is in plural form because there are more than one gnochhi per dish.

    Anyway, thanks for posting the recipe!

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  9. I took Latin for several years and I know this is an Italian word, but I never thought about it. Interesting. Thanks for telling me. If you try this recipe let me know how it goes.

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  10. Thanks so much for posting the little dumplings...these will be on my menu this week! Thanks again!

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  11. A perfect use for those aging potatoes. I have some in my basement that could use a similar treatment I think.

    Crazy coincidence! I just posted a recipe that involves bacon and butternut squash as well.

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  12. I have yet to try gnocchi. Every time I see some that look as fantastic as yours, I get even more inspired :D

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  13. I love making gnocchi although my favourite is sweet potato gnocchi http://whatsonmyplate.net/2009/11/14/sweet-potato-gnocchi-with-brown-butter-and-sage/

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  14. We learn from all those around us so you never know - gnocchi in Panama! These look adorably delicious.

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  15. That looks really cute, great idea to bake them a day in advance, so yummy...

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  16. Looks and sounds so yummy. Perfect treat for a Sunday dinner. Thanks;

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  17. Last time I made gnocchi, it was a disaster. So lets hope I can give this a try and be successful! :)

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  18. Beautiful! Gnocchi are the best

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  19. I will have to try this. (I too have thought it was really difficult and have never tried gnocchi). Another comfort food to try---baked potato mac n' cheese with gnocchi (store-bought so far), a sour cream cheese sauce and bacon. OMG. But your butternut squash sauce sounds wonderful! Thanks for the great post.

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  20. I will have to try this. I was always intimidated by gnocchi. My husband isn't a big fan, so I'll have to try it some night when I am on my own. Maybe I'll be able to bring him around yet. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  21. Gnocchi is something i'm dying to try as well. One of these days.. Yours looks delicious! Thanks for sharing. :)

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  22. I really enjoyed this posting. It seemed so sincere and definitely seems easy to make. I bought some prepared gnocchi but am unsure what to pair it with. Any ideas?

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  23. Very nice and easy to follow recipe. I LOVE gnocchi...and am terribly afraid to make it because I might eat it ALL.

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  24. They look really good. I am glad you finally got to make them from scratch. I have made semolina gnocchi from one of the Frugal Gourmet books - years ago - and they were a hit - but I have never made potato gnocchi before. I have always wanted to. Maybe I will next week while my son is off at karate camp - I'll have more time to play then. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  25. These look great! I don't think I would have the patience to make them, but I would definitely have no problem eating them up!

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  26. The husband and I were just discussing how to make this, then I saw your recipe. It was meant to be--I need to try these. Thanks!

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  27. Gnocchi aren't always made from potatoes (I was sorta surprised to learn that, too--some are made from semolina, so it still counts as pasta) though they are my favorite that way. When I did a 3-gnocchi trial a while back I discovered that cake flour makes for very light (both in color, texture and flavor) gnocchi and that whole wheat gnocchi are *amazing* the day after cooking (the nutty flavor was an unexpected treat).

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  28. The texture looks amazing!!

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  29. Anonymous2/11/2011

    Russet is not spelled the way you think it is.

    It means "dark brownish-red," like the skin on a Burbank potato.

    I can only imagine how you pronounce "gnocchi."

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  30. Very nice work!! Thank you for sharing.

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  31. I've wanted to making gnocchi for a while but I'm afraid my pasta will be poorly shaped. I guess it doesn't have to be perfect.

    Thanks for the post. Now I know I can still eat potatoes that have sprouted. All those potatoes I've thrown out. I could have eaten those!

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