I have tried making gnocchi on numerous occasions before and failed every single time, I was perhaps a bit reluctant to believe this but actually the kind of potatoes you use are crucial to preparing this dish. Also as they aren’t labelled as “potatoes for gnocchi” in England, I had a very hard time finding the right ones.
After a bit of research online I found that “red” potatoes can withstand water well and don’t allow too much moisture to penetrate them, which is perfect for gnocchi. If the potatoes get too soggy then the dough won’t hold together and you’ll need to add more flour which may result in the final product being too hard.
I found these babies in Morrisons, they had different varieties of red potatoes but the organic ones looked the best so I got those.
The three simple ingredients you are going to need to make gnocchi are:
1kg of boiled potatoes
300g white flour
a pinch of salt
I actually had just over a kilo in the saucepan and once passed through a potato ricer, I ended up with 765g of potatoes so I adjusted the amount of flour accordingly.
1. boil the potatoes in water (no salt added)
2. once they have boiled for about 20/25 mins check with a toothpick if the centre of the biggest one is soft. Some of them will have broken down a bit, this is still fine
3. strain them and allow them to cool down for about 10 mins until you can handle them with bare hands
4. peel the skin off each one of them, this should easily come off without having to use a knife
5. then pass them all through the potato ricer into a bowl or floured surface
6. add a pinch of salt and start kneading in the flour by half
7. once the first half of the flour is mixed, knead the rest in
8. form a ball with the dough you obtain and set to rest for about 10 mins
9. take a piece off the ball and roll it out so that it has the shape of a long sausage and cut with a knife
10. you can then press each gnocco gently on a floured fork to give it a pretty ridge
11. bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the gnocchi
12. stir occasionally so that they don’t stick to each other
13. they cook very fast, so as soon as they float on the water they are ready to be drained
Note: The standard recipe calls for 1kg of potatoes and 300g of flour. However, as this type of potato doesn’t retain much water, I will try adding less flour next time to see if this has an impact on the softness of the dumplings. I have seen recipes that only call for 200g of flour as opposed to 300g, so I’m all up of trying again since I had such a good result this time.
And here is the final product that I dressed with some homemade pesto, that you ideally make with a mortar and pestle but as I do not have one I used my blender. Whizz up one small clove of garlic, one handful of pine nuts (preferably European – the quality is superior to the Chinese ones which also happen to taste different), the leaves of two basil plants, a pinch of sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.
I do not add any nutritional yeast or miso to try and substitute the cheese as this overpowers the flavour of the basil too much. I find that there is enough aroma in those ingredients to make a fantastic pesto without having to add something that mimics the taste of parmesan and pecorino.