How to Make Italian Gnocchi from Scratch
As I am married to someone from an Italian family, my husband often craves for some real home cooked Italian food. I enjoy trying out new recipes and Italian Gnocchi was one I really wanted to have a go at.
Gnocchi is different to pasta, but can be served in a similar way either as a starter or side dish. Instead of being made with just flour and eggs, gnocchi is made with potato as well.
Pasta can be made into different shapes and sizes, but gnocchi are little potato dumplings or pillows with a very different texture. They should be delicate and melt in the mouth when eaten, but not too soft. It can be trial and error when making them, especially for the first time. Practice makes perfect.
I have come across different ways to make Gnocci and different people have their own ideas of its texture and how to make it. Some suggest to use egg and others say it can be optional. Try it both ways to see which works best for you.
The ingredients of Gnocci are:
- King Edward potatoes - roughly one medium sized potato per person
- Plain white flour - roughly half a cup per potato
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 egg (optional)
- Boil the potatoes in boiling water in their skins until they are tender. By doing it this way, less water is absorbed into the potato.
- Once they are tender, bring them out of the saucepan and leave to cool.
- Next, peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. You will then need to use a ricer to shred them. The ricer allows air to get into the potatoes making them light and fluffy. However, you could mash them or grate them with a grater.
- Next add the flour to the potatoes and begin to knead lightly. As you bring the flour and potatoes together, add the egg, salt and olive oil.
- Knead gently, then roll out on a floured surface into a sausage shape. If there is a lot of dough, divide it into quarters and create the sausage shapes about 3 cm thick.
- Next cut up the dough about 2 cm thick, and this makes your gnocchi dumplings. You can create a gnocchi shape by pressing them on the flat inside of a fork. Gently press them with your thumb and they will curve, creating a ridge from the fork on the other side.
- Bring a salted pan of water to the boil. Drop the gnocchi in batches. They will bob to the top quite quickly when they are done. Scoop them onto a warm plate with absorbent paper towel on, and cook the next batch.
- Serve as a starter or as part of a main meal in pesto or a tomato based Italian sauce. Grate fresh parmesan cheese over the top and enjoy.
Getting it Right
At first I struggled to get this recipe right. If not enough flour is used they can become sticky, but too much makes them hard.
They are a lot of fun to make and the ingredients are simple. Definitely one to keep trying!