Recipe for gnocchi
I’ve always been a bit confused by gnocchi. It’s not something I had ever cooked – just something I would occasionally eat at Italian restaurants. I never understood, though, where the potato was. Was the whole thing made of potato or was it inside some dough, like tiny ravioli?
Well, now I have the answer. And not just the answer – a recipe based on a hands-on demonstration with an Italian cook in a Tuscan villa.
I’ll copy out the simple recipe and ingredient list at the end of this story. First, though, I would like to take you through the process of making gnocchi in my own words.
Firstly, we get the potatoes and boil them. Choosing the right kind of potatoes is a crucial step. My cooking teacher, Stefano Schieppati, puts it like this:
“The important thing is to not have too moist potatoes. So, for example, the new baby potatoes are not good for gnocchi – better to use the starch ones. And boil them always with the skin and do not over boil them and let them drain very much.”
Now, the recipe says to peel the potatoes because we definitely don’t want any skin in the gnocchi. But here at Villa Ferraia, where I’m learning the trade, there is a fancy little masher we’ll use which automatically takes the skin off.
We then let them cool down.
“Mash them when they’re hot and do not, never, use flour until they are cold or at least nearly cold”, Stefano warns me.
With all the mashed potato on the table, we then add the other ingredients – flour, lots of parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt, and egg yolks. (The exact measurements are in the recipe below.)
Once everything is all on top of each other, we knead it all together like a dough. It won’t be nearly as hard to do as a flour-based dough, though, and should only need a few minutes before it’s a good firm shape and isn’t sticking to the table anymore.
Then we chop off a lump and start to roll it into tubes. You want each tube to be about the thickness of a wooden spoon handle (or slightly larger). I found this to be quite tricky and it was easiest when I used both hands and didn’t apply too much pressure.
Once you’ve got a cool tube, you then just slice it into small bite-sized pieces. And that’s the raw gnocchi!
That’s the hard part over. Now what we do is boil the pieces in water for just two minutes, scoop them out and put them on a tray covered in olive oil and let them cool down. When they’re cool we dump them in the water for a second time.
And now we’re definitely done. Cooked gnocchi!
You can then top them with any sauce you want. Stefano’s favourite is melted gorgonzola and, yeah, it’s delicious!
In the meantime, here is the recipe. Good luck!
- 1kg potatoes
- 150g ﬂour
- 1 spoonful of salt
- 3 spoonfuls of parmesan cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
- Peel and boil potatoes for 15 minutes
- Mash and leave to cool
- Add all other ingredients to potatoes
- Knead mix for a few minutes by hand until the dough no longer sticks to table (add ﬂour if needed)
- Cut a section of mixture and roll it into a long tube-like shape (2-3 cm diameter)
- Cut roll into small pieces (2-3 cm in length) to form each gnoccho
- Place gnocchi in boiling water for 2 minutes
- Remove and place in dish with olive oil and let cool
- Put gnocchi in boiling water for a second time for 2 minutes
- Drain and top with sauce