My obsession with gnocchi persisted for at least 5 years before I was able to wean myself off it. If gnocchi was on the menu I ordered it. It didn’t matter if it was prepackaged, homemade or hand-rolled nor did it matter what sauce it came with. I was always game for the pillowy, little ball of heaven otherwise known as gnocchi.
Unfortunately, as the popularity of the dumpling increased the availability of quality (think light & fluffy) decreased, only to be replaced by ones that are far too dense. So what is one gnocchi lover to do but make her own?
The following recipe is taken from Stir cookbook by Barbara Lynch, my favorite Boston chef. I followed her advice and used a potato ricer specially purchased for this experiment and the results, to my excitement, were practically restaurant worthy.
You will need:
2-2 1/4 pounds medium-to-high starch potatoes (2-3), whole & unpeeled
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 – 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 large eggs
Put the potatoes in a medium pot of salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until very tender, about 30 -35 minutes. Drain the potatoes well and allow them to cool just until you’re able to handle them. Peel the potatoes while still hot and rice them onto a baking sheet to cool.
Dump the potatoes onto a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of the flour over the potatoes and fluff the flour into the potatoes, using your fingers and a light touch. Gently gather the potatoes into a mound. Create a well in the center of the mound and add 1 1/2 teaspoon salt. Crack the eggs into the well and, using your fingers, combine all the ingredients. Knead the dough by pushing it away from you with the heel of your hand, folding it over, giving it a quarter turn, and pushing it away again. Continue kneading, sprinkling on a little more flour as needed, until the dough just forms a ball and feels delicate and a little bit sticky. Set the dough aside and clean the work surface of any hard bits of dough.
Sprinkle the work surface lightly with flour. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin to about 1/2 inch thick. Use a bench scraper or knife to cut the dough into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Roll each strip under your hands to form a log and cut the logs into 1 inch pieces. Cook the gnocchi in boiling salted water until they float to the top, about 5 minutes. Drain well and serve with your favorite sauce. You can freeze the rest for future enjoyment.