Saturday, 12 July 2014

How to: Potato Gnocchi

The variety of gnocchi in the world is as large as my childhood coin collection.  Yes, I was that kid.  I collected coins and soft drink cans/bottles.  The latter grew quite big as well before my mother told me to get rid of them as they filled up too many of my shelves.  I also collected model cars, but they were expensive as I only got them from proper Ferrari stores and such so that wasn't enough to call it a collection.  Anyway, I digress, back to gnocchi.  There are those made with potatoes, flour and egg; potatoes, semolina and egg; semolina and flour; potatoes and flour; those made with a choux base; those that include spinach or squid ink; those made with ricotta etc etc. 
I had never made potato gnocchi (ie just potatoes and flour) until two days ago.  Sources suggest that omitting the egg makes for fluffier gnocchi.  However, I have to say that the fluffiest and lightest gnocchi I've ever had were those made with a choux base.  That was at my favorite restaurant in Edinburgh, The Kitchn, and oh I believe they were served with some sort of seafood.  I can't remember exactly, I have the picture of it somewhere on my phone.  I take photos of everything I eat -- yes, I'm that Asian girl.  However, as much as I loved those gnocchi, choux-based gnocchi are French and since I'm in Italian I felt like I had to master my own country's version before I experiment with the rest.  As I was saying, I had never made potato gnocchi before, though I'd seen it made on TV dozens of times, and they all just say "add flour until it feels right".  So it was a bit daunting as I didn't know what "right" felt like.  Be wary of recipes requiring only two ingredients because those are the most difficult ones.  Everything needs to be perfect, and so I did my little research.
Use a "halfway" potato that's neither too waxy or too starchy, most British recipes suggest Desiree.  Boil it and then dry it out in the oven at a low temperature so the gnocchi are even fluffier.  After it's dried, pushing it through a sieve would be the best idea as it would add more volume.  A potato ricer works too.  Then you wait for it to completely cool down before kneading it with flour. 

Most Italian recipes ask for strong flour, but I see a lot of British recipes not mentioning it so I suppose it doesn't matter too much. 

Ah.  Use as little flour as possible I think.  I've seen the potato flour to be anywhere from 10:4 to 30:5 and I think I did something like 400g of potatoes to 100g of flour.  Oh and make sure to add a pinch of salt.

Kneading and cooking
Work the dough as little as possible, just until it comes together, and don't add all the flour at once. Afterwards, roll into a log and cut into bite size pieces. Roll each along a fork to form that classic pattern if you so desire.  Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and throw the gnocchi in there - don't overcrowd the pot, do this in batches.  When they begin to float on top they're ready - this just takes 1-2 minutes.  Then count to ten and take them out with a slotted spoon.  At this point you can either fry them in a bit of flavored butter and cheese or throw them in a pot of sauce. 


  1. Hmm gnocchi is defiantly one of my favourite dishes! Normally make it with ricotta and flour Gisforgingers xx

    1. Ah I've made those before as well, those are so soft and delicious! I like those just plain with some herbs and olive oil! :)


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