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Old 05-16-2016, 10:37 AM   #1
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How to make gnocchi

A while back it was requested that I do a step by step process on how to make gnocchi. Made some this past weekend and I got a few pictures. So here goes.

I don't really have a recipe and neither did the Italian nona that told me how to make them. She just described the general gist of it and then I practiced and also took in tips from other sources over the years but here goes.

DO NOT boil or steam the potatoes, not even in their jackets. Boiling/steaming adds water, which makes you need to add more flour, which leads to lead sinkers. Microwave or preferably bake the potatoes until done. You can even bake them on a salt bed to draw more moisture out. Use a starchy potato. The last batch was made with 1 very large baking potato since it was an experiment, besides the fact that I didn't want to make a lot anyway. It was a perfect amount for a good sized appy portion for 2. (this tutorial was written at a different time, last batch I actually made, which is when the pictures were taken, was from 2 large potatoes)

Peel and rice the potato(es) while still nice and warm but not so hot you can't handle. Don't let them cool to room temp or put in fridge. They will get gummy. Add salt generously. White or black pepper too if you want, even a pinch of nutmeg. Toss (use hands) with the riced potatoes.

Most recipes call for whole eggs at this point. What I've discovered is that using mostly egg white, with just a little yolk mixed in seems to make them lighter. So, with just the 1 large egg for the 1 potato the other night, I broke egg into a small bowl, whipped the egg white w/o breaking the yolk until the white was well broken up, then barely broke the yolk and mixed about half of it in. Poured egg (minus the rest of the yolk) in with the riced potatoes and gently mixed.



You can use cake flour. Cake flour won't form gluten (which leads to toughness) like regular flour will. I have been using regular flour though lately because I keep forgetting to buy cake flour. Just lighten it by scooping up and letting fall back down or putting it thru a sifter or wire strainer. Started with about 1/3 cup and gently mixed (adding a bit of flour as needed) until I got a fairly soft, very slightly sticky, smooth dough, then kneaded a couple of times on a lightly floured board. DO NOT overwork the mix, handle it as gently as possible. In the picture below, you can see the outside of the dough is smooth but the inside is soft and rough.



Pinch off a good amount (I did about thirds with the large baker) and roll on a lightly floured board into a log about an inch thick. Cut off about inch long pieces.


You can either leave the pieces as is or roll them on a gnocchi board or off the back of a fork to make a little indention on the opposite side and riged marks on the other. Rolling them off the fork (or using a gnocchi board) gives more surface area to cook faster plus more area for sauce to cling.








As you can see, the forked gnocchi have wider and deeper spaced grooves, while the gnocchi boarded ones are a bit finer but they both still curve slightly and have an indention on the bottom side from your finger.

Place the gnocchi into medium boiling, heavily salted water. Don't crowd the pan, think single layer. I let about half of them float and then start scooping into a colander to drain. Don't let them sit in the water and cook after floating, they will absorb water and become heavy. Sometimes you have to gently swirl the water with a spoon if they are being stubborn about floating after 2-3 minutes. I usually give the colander a bit of a shake to make sure all the water is off after I drop in each batch. Cook gnocchi in batches until all are done then proceed on with the recipe.

It took me several tries when I first started making these before I managed not to make lead sinkers or close to them. You'll want to add more flour. DON'T. You need to get a feel for the dough so that you don't have gnocchi that come apart when boiled or lead sinkers. Start small and get a feel for the dough. 1 potato and some flour won't break the bank in money or your time if it flops. You can always pinch a piece off, shape it and cook it to see if it will fall apart as you are adding in flour while you are learning.

Ways to use, and there are many, many more than this list.

Place in a buttered oven safe dish, top with a red sauce, bake for 10-15 minutes to warm thru, top with cheese, return to oven to melt/slightly brown cheese.

Gnocchi with sage butter. While you are making the dough, place about 3/4 stick unsalted butter in a sauté pan with some sage leaves, torn in large pieces or left whole if small leaves, and let gently simmer on low for a couple of minutes, then pull off heat to infuse the butter. Add S and P. When you are ready to finish the dish, remove the sage pieces from the butter (they'll get burned and nasty if you don't) and turn heat to just over medium. Add in gnocchi and saute to get them to just a light golden brown on each side. When you turn them over make a little spot and throw in some sage leaves that have been chiffonaded. When both sides are brown, remove gnocchi to serving dishes and drizzle some of the browned butter (be careful and watch so it doesn't burn and become blackened butter) and some of the freshly sautéed sage leaves. Top with parm cheese if desired. We tried them with and w/o parm. They were good w/o, but parm added a whole nother taste level so go with your tastes.

I've been thinking about doing an alla vodka sauce with pancetta with gnocchi instead of pasta but haven't done it yet. On my to do list.

We tried these recipes for dinner recently and Oh my goodness, that pan sauce is lick up off the plate good.

BASIC SHELLFISH PAN SAUCE — Chef John Besh

GNOCCHI WITH JUMBO LUMP CRABMEAT AND TRUFFLE — Chef John Besh

This is what dinner looked like.

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Old 05-16-2016, 10:52 AM   #2
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What an excellent tutorial, Med! Thanks!
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Old 05-16-2016, 04:23 PM   #3
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Awesome! thanks for posting this. I love gnocchi but have never made it from scratch. Screwing up my courage....
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Old 05-17-2016, 10:09 AM   #4
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Awesome recipe. Thank you.
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:13 PM   #5
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Excellent recipe, instructions, and discussion. I use the Cooks' Illustrated recipe, which only differs by first microwaving the spuds for ten minutes, then baking for a shorter time: no big deal. I then don rubber gloves and scoop their insides right into the ricer straight from the oven (and burn my hands in the process: for me, cooking is a full-contact sport :-)

BUT, in my search for ever-lighter gnocchi, I recently had a revelation: instead of flour, I'm now using potato starch. I'm still working the kinks out of the idea (there's a tendency towards gumminess), but the idea is very promising.
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:39 PM   #6
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Has anyone made gnocchi with ricotta rather than potato?
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Old 07-09-2016, 10:24 PM   #7
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Has anyone made gnocchi with ricotta rather than potato?
Yes! One of the most astonishing things I've ever made. If you're going to go through all those motions anyway, fronting the recipe by first making the ricotta makes your time completely worthwhile. A gallon of any standard, good-quality 4% milk will make you plenty, better than any you can buy, and all you need is a stove, a non-reactive pot, a lemon, fifteen minutes of your time stirring, some panty-hose, and somewhere to let it drip for an hour.

Don't mess with heavy, complicated sauces - the simpler the better.

Getting them right is not automatic, but they're like eating flavourful clouds, and it's fun trying different variations.
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Old 07-10-2016, 03:48 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by outRIAAge View Post
BUT, in my search for ever-lighter gnocchi, I recently had a revelation: instead of flour, I'm now using potato starch. I'm still working the kinks out of the idea (there's a tendency towards gumminess), but the idea is very promising.
We often use potato starch to make Craig's German stuffed potato dumplings. I personally feel that makes them heavier rather than lighter, besides the tendency toward gumminess. They are one of his favorites and traditional that his granny used to make so that's what he likes. I make spaetzle for me because I don't like them for both those reasons. Makes him happy though, more for him...

I also can't stand potato latkes/pancakes made with potato starch, every single one I've had, from a multitude of places, has that gummy taste/feel. I think that's just inherent with the potato starch.
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Old 07-10-2016, 04:14 AM   #9
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Has anyone made gnocchi with ricotta rather than potato?
Yep and they are very good.

There are also Roman semolina gnocchi, which are very good as well. Darn it Andy! We haven't made these in ages. You just had to remind me. These are made by making a semolina "porridge" and adding butter, eggs, cheese, spreading it out flat, letting it cool, then cutting it into rounds and shingle-ing them in a baking dish, drizzling with butter, sprinkling with parm and then baking. They were probably the original gnocchi since potatoes are from the New World. They have a sort of nutty flavor from the semolina flour.

Also, don't know if you noticed or not, but I made gnocchi a few days ago with butternut squash puree and potato. As I wrote, I didn't really taste the butternut squash in them, though Craig said he did in the background. You could use pumpkin, which I feel has a stronger flavor, and do the same thing.
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Old 07-10-2016, 05:44 AM   #10
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They can also be made incorporating bulk, homemade andouille! And yes, I love kartoffelklosse!
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Old 07-10-2016, 08:59 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by medtran49 View Post
Yep and they are very good.

There are also Roman semolina gnocchi, which are very good as well. Darn it Andy! We haven't made these in ages. You just had to remind me. These are made by making a semolina "porridge" and adding butter, eggs, cheese, spreading it out flat, letting it cool, then cutting it into rounds and shingle-ing them in a baking dish, drizzling with butter, sprinkling with parm and then baking. They were probably the original gnocchi since potatoes are from the New World. They have a sort of nutty flavor from the semolina flour.

Also, don't know if you noticed or not, but I made gnocchi a few days ago with butternut squash puree and potato. As I wrote, I didn't really taste the butternut squash in them, though Craig said he did in the background. You could use pumpkin, which I feel has a stronger flavor, and do the same thing.
I did notice the squash gnocchi. I don't make gnocchi often. It's not a favorite of SO's. I learned to make ricotta gnocchi from an old girl friend. She used a one pound tub of ricotta, an equal amount of flour and an egg.
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Old 07-10-2016, 12:33 PM   #12
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Also, don't know if you noticed or not, but I made gnocchi a few days ago with butternut squash puree and potato. As I wrote, I didn't really taste the butternut squash in them, though Craig said he did in the background. You could use pumpkin, which I feel has a stronger flavor, and do the same thing.
I love the taste of squash, but it is timid. Did you roast the squash before pureeing? I haven't tried making gnocchi with anything quite that watery: wasn't it quite a challenge?
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Old 07-10-2016, 01:24 PM   #13
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No. It was roasted, then pureed, then back into saucepan over med heat, stirring nearly constantly until dried out, starting to stick, about 5 to 7 minutes. Cooled before using.

Another way to get rid of a huge amount of excess water content in butternut squash, without any work, l discovered quite by accident years ago. I roasted and pureed it, then had something come up so no time to make ravioli that evening. I plopped the squash puree in a single ply paper towel lined mesh colander, it already had S and P in it. Next morning, there was a huge amount of liquid in the container. Lucky thing I used a good sized container, would have had a mess otherwise.
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Old 03-24-2018, 11:18 AM   #14
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Re-upping this to add, the last few times I have made gnocchi, we only had older baking potatoes that had just started to sprout. They made the best, lightest gnocchi I've ever made, and I didn't change anything other than using the older potatoes.
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Old 03-24-2018, 11:25 AM   #15
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Old 03-24-2018, 01:36 PM   #16
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This is my recipe for gnocchi di patate:

1 Kg potatoes, of the floury kind, i.e. not new potatoes, and with a fairly tough skin. I use red potatoes, not new but old, not too floury.

then 600 g. plain white strong flour, 120g butter, salt & pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. 20 g parmigiano.

The main trick is to boil the potatoes skin on. Weigh a kg potatoes, plus one extra. The skin should not burst. After 20 mins cooking, remove the extra potato, cut it in half to see whether the potatoes are properly cooked, i.e if you see that the middle of the potato isn't quite cooked through, calculate, cook a little bit more, then remove the other potatoes, and sking them while while still hot. Now peel the potatoes while still hot, and keep them hot. Now add the other ingredients plus 1 egg - don't add any flour just yet. Mash the potatoes and then add the flour, working the resultant dough, and work it quickly. Next, take pieces of dough and roll them into 'sausages', and having done that, cut into small pieces - about the size of a thumbnail , and then make make an indentation so that when the gnocchi are finally cooked they have are ready to finish the dish, which is generally a meat ragù (let me know if you want the recipe). I like these gnocchi not only with a meat ragù, but also with butter and parmesan.


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Old 03-24-2018, 01:49 PM   #17
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I find boiling then, even in the skins, makes the potatoes too moist, which means you have to add flour, which means lead sinkers.
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Old 03-24-2018, 05:03 PM   #18
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Not necessarly at all. The secret lies in the quality of potatoes you use, and whether you cook them properly - and then whether the potatoes you get over there give the same results. I would be interested to know what quality of potatoes you use - and also, gnocchi do require flour in the mix - you can work it out for yourself. I don't think that the potatoes you use over there can get round that! I have used this recipe for years without problems, and because it works well, I wanted to share it with you.

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Old 03-24-2018, 08:22 PM   #19
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Cool

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Originally Posted by di reston View Post
Not necessarly at all. The secret lies in the quality of potatoes you use, and whether you cook them properly - and then whether the potatoes you get over there give the same results. I would be interested to know what quality of potatoes you use - and also, gnocchi do require flour in the mix - you can work it out for yourself. I don't think that the potatoes you use over there can get round that! I have used this recipe for years without problems, and because it works well, I wanted to share it with you.

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I never implied or wrote that gnocchi didn't need flour, perhaps you need to re-read or perhaps even read to begin with my tutorial before making incorrect comments. What I did write was the more moisture you add, the more flour it takes to make a stable dough. If you use water to cook the potatoes, you ARE adding additional moisture, no ifs, ands, or buts! I would also remind you that potatoes come from the new world, not Europe, not Italy. We get potatoes that are used for bakers in high-end steakhouses.


I've used my method of baking for years as well and I won't be changing for something that I know from experience makes an inferior product, since that's the way I used to cook the potatoes before getting tips from this very nice Italian lady. The lightness of my gnocchi improved 1000% since I started baking them. Perhaps you should give it a try before putting down my method, which many chefs also use.
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Old 03-25-2018, 07:38 AM   #20
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My post was never intended to be a put down. I NEVER intend to do that, and I'm very sorry you thought I did - I just intended to share my recipe with you. Actually, it wasn't 'my' recipe: it was passed on to me by a good friend. Also, I was curious to know what type of flour you use. However, no offence meant. I apologise again. Have a good day!


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