Lorraine over at Not Quite Nigella commented on my Homemade Pasta that she loves to make her own gnocchi and when I read her post about how a true Italian called Francesca showed her how to make your own perfect gnocchi I simply had to try it. Nothing could be quite as simple as potato and flour – Right?
Step 1. Boil 1kg of desiree potatoes (or other floury potatoes) until soft. Try not to overcook them or they will be waterlogged and dense. And for the same reason it is a good idea to keep the skins on and remove them after boiling.
Step 2. Mash them while still hot. I just used a standard hand masher, no fancy equipment like a potato ricer or sieves but I am sure you would get a smoother result if you did.
Step 3. Let the mashed potato cool completely. This can take a while so this isn’t something you make at the last minute.
Step 4. Put your pot of water on to boil so that you can cook the gnocchi as soon as it is made. You may like to add a pinch of salt to the water. Now would also be a good time to heat your chosen sauce in a saucepan.
Step 5. Combine 350g Italian 00 flour with your mashed potato to make a dough. The 00 flour has a finer grain helping to achieve a softer lighter dough. The dough will be slightly sticky, but firm.
Step 6. Roll the dough into small logs and lightly flour each log so that they don’t stick. Then cut each log into bite sized pieces. Be careful not to overwork the dough or it will go tough – light, quick hands.
Step 7. I don’t have a gnocchi board but after a little experimentation I found that my bamboo sushi mat helped me achieve the classic ridged gnocchi look. I used a fork to gently roll the cut gnocchi towards me which curled the gnocchi into a shell shape and gave it the ridges on the outside. I found that the gnocchi that had been curled was much lighter and fluffier to eat and the hollow and the ridges helped the sauce to cling on to each piece.
Step 8. I found it easiest to cook the gnocchi in batches as you roll them. Simply place into boiling water and they will float to the surface once cooked. This took about 2-3 minutes. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and into a saucepan of sauce (whatever you prefer on yours). Serve immediately and enjoy!
This actually made a heap of gnocchi so we froze some for later. To do this, after you have rolled them do not cook them, instead simply place on a baking tray in the freezer to prevent them from sticking together. Once frozen scoop them all into a bag or container to store. When you are ready to cook them do not defrost them, pop them frozen into the pot of boiling water.
I was impressed that this recipe was so simple, no added eggs, water or salt. And I do think that the 00 flour makes a difference so try not to use standard plain flour. Give it a go and let me know what you think.