Thursday, June 10, 2010

The 3 hour Gnocchi

Gnocchi is one of my favorite dishes. I test restaurants by ordering gnocchi. If they have a good one, the rest is probably very good too. Most places use too much flour so it gets harder then it should (in my opinion). I like it soft, creamy, with a lot of potato taste.
After getting disappointed with my last gnocchi order, I decided I could do better. I even had the sauce in mind. I just had to do the dumplings.. "Just".. as if it was that simple.
I got beautiful yukon gold potatoes. Big, with not a lot of bumps and smooth skin. I usually bake them in the oven or the microwave. I Find that if you boil them, the water makes it too soggy for gnocchi, calling for more flour.  Since the potatoes I got were huge, it took half an hour for them to bake.  So, let's start with the recipe:
3 pounds of yukon gold (russet works too)
1 and a half cup of flour
1 large egg
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 cup of olive oil or any mild vegetable oil.
A big pot with boiling water with 1 tbs of salt.

After the potatoes are baked, press them through a potato ricer. (Yes, it is one more gadget to buy but, you can use them for fantastic mashed potatoes too)
Make a little potato "volcano" on the clean surface of your counter.
Sprinkle the whole volcano with the flour and the salt and break the egg in the center. 
Start mixing everything with a fork, and then begin kneading with your hands until it come together.  If it is still sticky, add more flour and keep kneading until it's dry to the touch. Divide the dough into 6 balls. Roll the balls into ropes of  3/4 inch diameter, and cut them in little pillows of 1 inch.
Some people like to roll them with a fork to create the typical ridges. I think they look good as little pillows, besides, I didn't want this to become the 4 hour gnocchi.

Drop the gnocchi in batches in the boiling water. At first, they will sink and when they are ready, they will float. Transfer the cooked gnocchi to a large pyrex and as you go, drizzle a little olive oil, so they don't stick. Toss them a little to make sure they are all coated. You can keep them covered in the fridge for 2 days. I made two pyrex, one I kept in the fridge, the other I used right away with the following sauce:
Tomatos, olives and smoked mozzarella sauce:
1 pound of ripe plum tomatoes chopped in little cubes
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
2 cloves of garlic, sliced very thinly.
1/2 cup of sliced green olives
3 ounces of smoked Mozzarella in small cubes
1 cup of fresh basil, coarsely chopped.
sal and pepper to taste.
Saute the garlic in the olive oil until light golden. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the olives, stir well, seanson with salt and pepper and turn the heat off. Add the cooked gnocchi to the pan, the mozzarella and the basil leaves.
Stir gently and serve immediately.

Note 1:
It is very easy to make this recipe. The only problem is that it's time consuming and can be messy. So messy that afterwards I thought it would take forever for me to want to venture in gnocchi-land again. I must confess, it was so good, I am already flirting with the idea of doing it again soon. Who knows? maybe with the experience I got, it will only take me 2 hours.
Note 2:
The unused gnocchi that was kept in the fridge can be revived by a quick boil again, or pan sauted with olive oil and then served with he same sauce or a different one. hmm I am having new ideas...


  1. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

  2. are you kidding me? im soooo impressed. i tried to make these once...i had a big pot of flour/potato water. not good. not good at all. maybe i'll try round 2....i'm inspired!

  3. Excellent adventure into gnocchi land..! Good job...if only I could taste test the yummy photo. I like the gnocchi pillow army you have created in your kitchen...yes I can see how it could make a sticky mess but with practice it would most likely be reduced...but then I always make a mess in the kitchen when I cook ha ha

    Sounds like you could drop these little pillows of goodness into just about any kind of sauce. Even seafood or chicken..wait..that would be chicken dumplings! sigh

  4. Thanks for the recipe, it looks amazing... now if I can only find the time and the patients... ;)

  5. Getting groceries this weekend to try this out! Hope you're enjoying the World Cup!

  6. Going to experiment with this recipe soon! I´ll be sure to keep you updated about the results (or the lack of them) XD
    Gorgeous blog, dinda!