Any conversation about gnocchi will start with a harmless question. Then it will meander through an Italian grandmother’s kitchen. Then it will end over a plate. While convivial, these little talks are where angels fear to tread – no one’s method is better than nonna’s.
Therefore, there are just as many ways to make gnocchi and there are Italian grandmothers.
This recipe isn’t so much a recipe as it is a list of ingredients and a methodology. Gnocchi, like all dumplings, require gentle attention. Your climate is going to dictate the way the potatoes steam off and how much flour you use. Eggs are the key ingredient here and you want to use the best-fed chicken eggs you can. Ask any Italian from the old country and they’ll tell you, American eggs are nothing like Italian eggs.
If you are making a large batch, use a goose egg. You won’t be sorry.
Keeps: Serve immediately after cooking. 1 month if frozen before being boiled
Serves: 14 People
Time: 3 hours
WHAT TO DO
Bake the potatoes for an hour at 400° (until you can slide a dull knife into them)
When the potatoes are done, immediately cut them in half and scoop out the flesh
Rice the potatoes onto a sheet pan and let cool completely
Put cooled potatoes into a bowl and toss with salt and pepper
Make a crater in the center and add the egg
Incorporate the egg by kneading gently
Gradually add flour, as you do, listen to the dough– when you let the ball drop against the bowl, it should have a resonance. Like a thud.
Stop adding flour when the dough is still tacky and let it rest for 30 minutes
After 30 minutes, scatter a handful (1/2 cup) of flour onto a board
Roll the dough around the flour so that it is evenly coated and then cut the ball into 12 equal portions
Take a portion and roll it on the floured board, then roll it into a rope a 1/2″ in diameter
Dip a pairing knife into flour and cut 3/4″ pieces
Use the backside of a fork to gently roll each piece under the tines (as if you were using the fork to move each piece of dough to see its underside)
Lay each piece on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan
Boil a pot of salted pot of water and put a 1/2 a sheet pan of gnocchi into the water
When they float, they’re done. Pull them from the water using a slotted spoon and drop them directly into warm sauce.
The more flour you use, the denser your dumpling.
The goal is ebullient little clouds, hang back on the flour but make sure that the dough isn’t so wet that it sticks to your hands.