Gnocchi

by Ben Miller

I wouldn’t call this recipe a failure, but I also wouldn’t call it a success. The taste was pretty good–a nice blend of potato and the herbs I mixed in. The texture was another matter. It didn’t seem fully cooked after the allotted cooking time, so I boiled it for longer. The end result was a little slimy, probably from being overdone. Needless to say I’m looking for recommendations on how to improve this recipe. (You’ll have to excuse the size of the pictures, I took them with my cell phone and they kind of blurry at full size.

Gnocchi

Adapted from the Dean & DeLuca Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1 large egg, beaten lightly
  • 1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup flour

For what it’s worth, I didn’t actually measure out all the greens, seemed like more work than was necessary.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Poke the potatoes several times with a fork and then place on the oven rack and bake for an hour  or until they are cooked.
  2. Let the potatoes cool, then scoop out the insides (careful because the interior will be much hotter than the exterior). Mash the potatoes with a fork and then add the egg and butter. Keep mixing and add in the herbs, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  3. Add in half the flour and start kneading the dough. Keep adding more flour as you go until the dough is firm and no longer sticky.
  4. Divide the dough into four pieces. Take each piece one at a time and roll it into a 24-inch long rope that is about a half thick.
  5. Cut the dough into 1/2 inch pieces. Then take a fork and roll it over each piece perpendicular to the width. (I didn’t do this at first so many of the pictures have it going the wrong direction.) This creates grooves on the gnocchi, which helps it trap sauce.
  6. Boil the gnocchi in a pot of boiling salted water until they float, about 3 minutes. Drain and serve.

Alright, so where did I go wrong?

Before cooking

Before cooking

While boiling in the water

7 responses to “Gnocchi

  1. It’s hard to be sure having only the pot to infer scale, but it looks like your gnocchi are a lot longer than 1/2″.

  2. Yeah I’d say maybe smaller gnocchi, and using a ricer or an electric mixer might get you a better potato texture to start with — making the end result a little better.

  3. This is the first recipe that I’ve seen that has you bake the potatoes–I boiled them for about 40 minutes until you could spear them easily, and then put them through a ricer.

  4. Two big things are working your dough as little as possible, and using the least amount of flour as possible. If you cut that flour back to a tablespoon, the gnocchi would melt in your water. 2 tablespoons same thing.

    1/2 a cup? would still probably melt. But at some point between 1/2 and 1 cup. They would hold, and the only thing they would melt in is your mouth.

    The french laundry cookbook has a great article about this. Adding flour little by little and cooking test dumplings until they hold. Tone down the flour as much as possible, and reap the benefits.

    Also don’t boil, they take on more water…either bake, or steam.

  5. http://www.evilchefmom.com/2008/08/french-laundrys-potato-gnocchi.html

    there.

    I dont know why she’s evil, but check out the pictures. happy light fluffy.

  6. When I make gnocchi, I use the French Laundry Cookbook, which has you shock the dumplings in ice water after cooking. I think some of your texture problems might be because they kept cooking after you took them out of the water.

  7. moderndomestic

    Your problem could have been that you cooked them in too big a batch – by adding the gnocchi to the boiling water all at once, you lower the water temperature, meaning they take longer to cook (and become slimy).

    When I made gnocchi I used the recipe in “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School,” and she recommends boiling them in small batches. The recipe (and my own gnocchi making experience) is here: http://moderndomestic.wordpress.com/2009/03/04/recipes-to-keep-you-away-from-the-tv-martha-stewarts-homemade-gnocchi-with-basil-walnut-pesto/

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