Homemade Potato Gnocchi
I studied abroad in Florence, Italy while in college. To say I fell in love with that place is an understatement. The culture...the beauty...the history...the art...the food...the wine. Italy just BRINGS IT in so many ways, and I'm here for it all.
While there, I took weekly cooking classes on the "other side of the Arno" as they call it. The "other side of the Arno" is considered old Florence - yes, suuuuper old cities consider construction from the middle ages "new." Walk past the Duomo, cross the Ponte Vecchio and you're there. My cooking class was taught just down the street from that beautiful bridge and the weekly jaunt never got old.
Even though I come from a cooking family, I found my passion for it in that class. Scratch-made pastas, raviolis, the best tomato soup you'll ever have, all kinds of sauces, biscotti and my favorite, gnocchi. Expect recipes for all those soon, folks!
If you've ever had gnocchi, then you know. It's INCREDIBLE. Light, pillow-like potato dumplings - is there anything better?! It quickly became my favorite thing to eat during my travels. If it was on the menu, I was ordering it.
The coolest part of that class - well one of the cool things - was that they'd send you home with recipe cards. The worst part of that class? The gnocchi recipe was not one of them. They gave us everything else, but their recipe for pillow-like potato dumplings remained theirs. And here's the thing about gnocchi: it's not the easiest dish to make. The balance between potatoes and flour has to be just right or it comes out dense, or it doesn't come out at all. And before you start: I know you can buy packaged gnocchi at the store. I've done that. I do that. But...that's not real gnocchi, people.
Ever since returning from my stint abroad, I've tried and failed to make gnocchi. Sure, they were edible, but they were never quite right. Never quite like the stuff I had in Italy. BUT, finally, after thirteen years of tweaking recipes and trying different ingredients, I made light, pillow-like potato dumplings. I made real gnocchi. This might be the best moment in my culinary quest. And, unlike that cooking school in Italy, I'm sharing. 'Cause everyone deserves a taste of Italia.
A few tips I've learned along the way:
Flour matters. Most people have All-Purpose in their pantry. It's...okay. What you really want is Tipo "00." It's hard to find in grocery stores, but Amazon sells a good one. Yes, it's more expensive, but it's worth it.
Potatoes matter. Yukon Gold is my go-to, mixed with a little Russet. That combo is a real winner in this recipe.
Baking vs. Boiling. DO NOT BOIL YOUR POTATOES. Liquid is the death of gnocchi. Trust me. Bake 'em - it makes all the difference.
Patience. Be patient with the process. You can do it!
Homemade Potato Gnocchi
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
3 Yukon Gold Potatoes + 1 Russet Potato (total weight should be around 2lbs)
1 - 1.5 Cups Tipo "00" Flour
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp Sea Salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Poke holes all over the potatoes and bake for one hour.
Once the potatoes are out of the oven, let them cool for a few minutes and then remove the skin.
Using a potato ricer, rice the potatoes. Let cool for about 20 minutes.
Flour a flat surface and turn the potatoes out into it.
Add the beaten egg, salt and 1 cup of the flour to the potatoes. Using your hands, begin to combine the ingredients together and knead.
Add an additional 1/4-1/2 cup of flour to the mixture slowly. You don’t want to add too much flour or the gnocchi will be dense. As soon as the dough stops sticking to your hands and table, you should be close to done.
Using a knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 5-6 pieces, lightly flour your work surface and hands, and begin to roll them into 1” thick rope-like strips.
Once rolled, cut the dough into 1/2"-1" long dumplings and then use either a gnocchi board or fork to create the indents. Video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INXWmj8nxHo
Bring water to a boil in a large pot. I like to fill up a little more than half my pot with water. Once boiling, add salt.
Gently place the gnocchi in the boiling water. Once the gnocchi begins to float, remove from what with slotted spoon and add directly to your sauce.
Pair with your favorite sauce!