Gnocchi or potato dumplings – definitely a love affair. I made my first gnocchi the other day and it was great fun to do and delicious. I’ve had a little Gnocchi board for some time and I thought it was high time I used it. Of course that’s not essential at all, a fork will work too, but it’s a good excuse.
There is such a joy in taking a very basic ingredient and turning it into something exceptional.
So so if you have some potatoes lying around, use them up. Make some Gnocchi.
This is how I do it.
Put the raw potatoes in a large pot. Do not peel first. Barely cover with water. Slowly bring to the boil. Boil until the potatoes are soft. Turn off the heat. As soon as they are cooked and nice and soft on the inside, I drain out all the water from the pot then leave them in the pot, hot, with the lid off so that the excess moisture will evaporate and leave nice dry potatoes.
Once they have cooled to about blood temperature, peel off the skins off the potatoes. They should peel off easily. Remove any eyes or blemishes. Mash well in a saucepan until the texture is fine. Do not add liquid.
Once they are mashed then you will need to add some flour. I used strong bread flour. I believe the Italians use a 00 flour. I think it’s all about the gluten. Apparently, flour with about 9 percent gluten, is good for gnocchi. I used some which was about 8 percent. But who’s going to quibble about 1 or 2 percent. After all, getting with the spirit of the dish I’m sure it evolved from leftover potato, or general availability of ingredients.
You will need about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of strong plain flour for a kilo of potatoes.
Put the mashed potato on a clean dry work top and with very clean hands, gradually add the flour and knead until you have a lovely smooth dough.
Divide into eights then roll each one into a sausage, approximately 1-1/2 cm thick. Then cut along every 1 1/2cm to make approximate squares.
Roll each square with one finger across the Gnocchi board, just enough to make lines in the gnocchi on the underside and a dent in the top side. They will curl a little.
Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When water is boiling, gently add the gnocchi to the water. They will float to the top when they are ready.
Once they float, remove with a slotted spoon. Drain in a colander then serve immediately with your favourite sauce or decant into a dish with just a little olive oil to stop them sticking together.