A basic recipe for homemade potato gnocchi, small soft Italian dumplings.
1 pound baking potatoes
- Wash about 1 pound baking potatoes and cook in lightly salted water (without peeling). It is best to start with cold water. The potatoes should all be about the same size. Cooking time depends on the type and size. A rule of thumb for testing cooking state is to stick a fork into one or two potatoes and if it goes easily, the potatoes are done. When ready, drain, peel and mash them through a potato ricer, (do not use a food mill, as it would make the purée sticky and thus impossible to work with) and place on a pastry board or marble surface. Should the purée be too watery, put it back on the stove over moderate heat and let it dry well, stirring constantly.
- It is important to have a dry purée, or you will need to add too much flour and gnocchi will turn out doughy and heavy. Add a small amount of salt and as much flour as necessary to make the dough soft enough not to stick to your fingers. You don't have to knead the dough too much, just long enough blend all the ingredients.
- Cut a piece of the dough and, coating your hands with flour, roll the dough into a long cylinder about the thickness of your index finger. Then cut the cylinder into pieces about l-inch long. Sweep the dough lengthwise toward you, pressing against the board with your fingertips. This will make each piece curl up, taking the shape of a little shell. For this purpose you may also use other utensils such as the back of a cheese grater or a fork. In this case, gnocchi will be ridged and curled. It is not necessary to give them a particular shape: they may be simply cut into nuggets of any desired size.
- Repeat until all the dough is used, trying to handle the dumplings as little as possible. Finally, place the gnocchi on a flat surface sprinkled with flour without overcrowding. Cook as soon as possible.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Note: You can add 1 to 2 eggs to the potato and flour dough. The eggs will make the mix harder, more consistent. In some cases this is a desired result, especially if large amounts have to be prepared or if they have to be made long before the final cooking. In this case, gnocchi will not be as soft, they will have more of a bite.
Recipe provided courtesy of The Italian Trade Commission.