POTATO GNOCCHI             back to home

serves 6

4 medium Idaho baking potatoes

1 whole extra large egg, beaten

1 T freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 t salt

1/4 t white pepper

1/8 t fresh grated nutmeg

1 cup all purpose flour- plus more for when rolling the dough

1 stick unsalted butter

special equipment needed: a potato ricer, rubber gloves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the potatoes and prick them with a fork a couple times. Bake for about an hour. Don’t over bake- you don’t want them mushy.

Have a large rimmed bowl ready and some clean rubber gloves.

When the potatoes are done cut them in half- lengthwise and scoop out the flesh of one half into a potato ricer. Rice them, repeat until all 6 halves are riced. I try to distribute them evenly over the bowls surface for quicker cooling. Let them cool completely.

When cooled, add the egg, parmesan, salt, pepper and nutmeg to the potatoes- use your hands (light touch) to distribute until all is incorporated.

Next add the flour all at once and gently knead until it all comes together as  a soft and slightly sticky ball- (light touch) add a little more flour if it is too sticky.

Form the dough into a mass and cut into 4 parts. Cover 3 parts of the dough with a clean cloth.

Sprinkle a large wood cutting  board or marble slab, lightly with flour. Gently roll the dough into a long rope- about 1/2- 3/4 inch thick. Using a knife or a pastry cutter, cut the gnocchi’s into about 1 inch long pieces. Repeat with the other pieces of dough. When all the dough is cut give each one a ridged shape by very lightly running them over a tines of a fork. If you set the cut gnocchies up on the tall side and do this you will have a more oval shape gnocchi.

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl.

When the water comes to a boil, add the gnocchi ( you might want to do this in several batches if making a whole recipe) Cook for several minutes or until they all rise to the surface.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer( light touch) them to the ice bath.

Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. After a minute or so transfer( light touch) them to the towel lined sheet in a single layer to dry some. Use them within a half hour or cover them with plastic wrap to use within 24 hours.

To saute, melt the butter in a large saute pan on med- hi heat. Heat for several minutes until the butter just starts to turn a little brown. Add the gnocchi in a single layer- being careful not to crowd them. Again, you might have to do this in batches. After 2-3 minutes check to see if they are getting a nice crispy brown on the bottom. Then using 2 little spoons, gently turn them over - one by one to brown the other side- another 2-3 minutes- or until they take on a buttery- golden look.

To keep it simple,serve with a little brown butter and freshly grated parmesan. I recommend my Leek Shitake Cream Sauce as a nice light pairing for these tender little clouds. 

I love gnocchi- but haven’t been too successful in the past making it at home. They say that only Italian grandmothers should make them as they have the perfect touch. I recently had a delicious gnocchi at a local restaurant, and decided to tackle making it again- this time until i got it right. This isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s time consuming and putzy. And, it’s easy to get it wrong by overworking the dough. The restaurant owner  where i had the best  gnocchi- ever- gave me a tip- rice the potatoes after they are baked while they are really hot. Use rubber gloves when handling the hot potatoes. This method helps keep the gluten  from releasing and keeping the gnocchi light. I got this recipe from “The Balthazar Cookbook”- the fabulous NYC bistro. The sauce i recommended was deconstructed from a restaurant memory. You can make the gnocchi in advance- cover with plastic on a tray and put them in the fridge and saute them as much as 24 hours later. Freezing them didn’t work out too well. You can halve this recipe. If you like gnocchi and have been afraid to make it at home- give this a try- it worked for me. Just remember your mantra as you handle the dough each step of the way: “light touch” They are little pillows with a tiny little crunch- pure heaven!