Thursday, September 10, 2009

Potato Gnocchi

(pictured: pillow gnocchi sauteed in Earth Balance seasoned with salt and pepper)

Gnocchi means dumpling in Italian. Most regions have different versions of gnocchi. Sometimes they are made with potato, other times semolina, spinach and ricotta, chestnut flour, or mashed acorn squash. Like pasta, gnocchi are cooked in lightly salted boiling water until they float.

This version of gnocchi is called strangugli and is made without egg. The amount of flour each batch will need depends on the moisture content of the potato. You want to add as little flour as possible since too much with make the dumpling tough and/or heavy. It you aren’t certain if you have added enough flour make a test dumpling and cook it. If it doesn’t fall apart you have added enough flour.

Traditional recipes for potato gnocchi instruct you to boil the potatoes. I tried baking the potatoes a few years ago and it makes for more consistently light dumplings. If you should to boil them you will need to let them dry out before you make the dough.

Potato Gnocchi - Strangugli
Serves 3


1 pound of potatoes, preferably russet
approximately 3 ounces of flour whole wheat or white
½ teaspoon of kosher salt
fresh ground nutmeg - optional


Bake the potatoes until they are tender.

Start a pot of water and bring it to a light boil to cook the gnocchi.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle use a ricer or a food mill to process the potato. I rice the potato over my cutting board but you can also use a bowl. When the potatoes have been riced add a little flour (half the amount suggested and the salt (nutmeg if using) and knead to form a dough. If the mixture is very soft add a little more flour a tablespoon at a time. When you have used all the flour make a test dumpling and cook it to see if it sticks together. If it does you can form the dumplings now, if not add a little more flour.

There are a few ways to form the dumplings depending on how you are going to use them. If you plan to sauté them after boiling they are prettier if left in little pillow shapes, which is part of the traditional shaping process. If you don’t plan to sauté the gnocchi the traditional shape is described below.

Roll the gnocchi dough into a long cylinder (snake shape) about a half an inch thick on a floured surface. With a knife or a pastry cutter cut the rope into approximately 1 inch lengths. If you go no further this is the pillow shape I referred to above. For the traditional shape you take the pillow and press it into a fork (or gnocchi board) forming a ridge on the outside and the dimple on the inside. The final gnocchi should be a crescent shape. I will post a recipe with the traditional shape in the future so you can see the shape.

Drop some of the gnocchi into the pot of simmering water. You don’t want to crowd the gnocchi so you will need to do this in batches. The gnocchi will float to the surface when they are cooked. This will happen quickly, in a minute or two. Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon to a warm bowl or pan and continue to cook the remaining dumplings.

If you aren’t going to eat them right away you can freeze them at this stage in a single layer on a sheet tray. When they are completely frozen you can bag them for long-term freezer storage.

You can saute the gnocchi in a little olive oil or earth balance if you choose. That is how I served them tonight with the sweet and sour cabbage.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 256.11
Calories From Fat (1%) - 2.6

Total Fat - 0.31g
Saturated Fat - 0.07g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 323.83mg
Potassium - 1075.42mg
Total Carbohydrates - 57.62g
Fiber - 3.26g
Sugar - 0.1g
Protein - 6.65g


Making gnocchi is somewhat addictive for me. I love the soft tender pillowy texture of the gnocchi. They are great with a white sauce and breadcrumbs or as I am serving them tonight with cavalo agro dolce (sweet and sour cabbage).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails