For a long time the Accidental Locavore has wanted to learn how to make gnocchi, one of my favorite forms of pasta, but classes never worked with my schedule. When Haven’s Kitchen had a gnocchi class that did fit, it seemed like a perfect opportunity. And wouldn’t a sparkling new kitchen be just the place?
As it turns out, making gnocchi is pretty easy. It’s just like making pasta, with the added step of cooking and ricing potatoes. Unlike pasta (and more like making biscuits) you need to have a light touch. What was surprising was how delicate the dough was, which was good because you automatically started to treat it with respect.
The bad news? Once you’ve had homemade gnocchi, you’ll never order it in a restaurant again. Here’s the recipe (which makes at least enough to feed 4):
- 4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
- 2 eggs, very well beaten
- 1 cup of flour, divided into two 1/2 cup portions, plus flour for kneading the dough
Bring the potatoes to boil in a saucepan filled with cold water* and a big handful of salt. The water should be salty enough to taste like the sea…seriously! When the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes, drain them and put them through a food mill or potato ricer into a large bowl (wide and shallow is better than tall and deep).
Gently push the potatoes to the sides of the bowl to form a well at the bottom of the bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the flour to the bottom of the bowl. Add the beaten eggs and top with the remaining 1/2 cup flour. Very gently, starting in the center, start to mix the eggs and flour. As they become combined, start to gently stir in the potatoes. When the dough is well-mixed, but not over-processed, turn it out on to a well-floured board.
If it’s not completely mixed, knead it a couple of times** until everything is thoroughly combined. Form it into a rectangle about 1″ thick. Cut the big rectangle into 1″ strips. Lightly flour your hands. Take one of the strips, sprinkle with flour and gently roll into a long rope about 3/4″ thick. Cut the rope into 1/2“ (or bigger depending on how large you want your gnocchi) pieces. Place the pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Again, gnocchi like wide and deep, rather than tall and narrow, so use your widest pot. Cook the gnocchi until they start to float to the top, about 2-3 minutes, depending on size. Toss with your favorite sauce, serve and enjoy!
* Here’s something the Locavore learned: the reason for the cold water is potatoes won’t cook evenly in hot water (the centers never catch up with the outsides).
**Something else I learned, always knead in the same direction, gluten likes a one-way street.