A couple of years ago, I attempted homemade gnocchi only to end up with a gluggy bowl of heartbreak. I love gnocchi – so it was very disappointing, and the memory of that massive failure haunted me as my homemade-gnocchi-golem anytime the idea of a second attempt crossed my mind. But fortunately, the memories of pain and despair had faded enough to allow for a new gnocchi adventure just last week and although I’m giving away the end of the story here, it worked really well! Hooray!
This time we started with some research. The Guardian had a recipe review which examined several gnocchi recipes, and pulled together the best elements of each. From here, I cross-checked with my Italian cookery authority, The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, and made an effort to get the right potatoes, and the right equipment. As floury potatoes are best for gnocchi, we capitalised on Food Connect having available some beautiful King Edwards, and bought a kilo. We also read that a potato ricer is best for achieving the right consistency of potato for making gnocchi so we got one of those, too (Yotam Ottolenghi rates highly his potato ricer, so it seemed a reasonable investment).
We followed the steps for preparing the gnocchi from The Guardian, then proceeded with cooking the gnocchi and making the meal with The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. After all was done, we had a beautiful meal of gnocchi in tomato butter sauce with a side of salt and vinegar fried zucchini. The sauce and zucchini recipes were from the aforementioned cookbook.
Our kilo of King Eddies.
After scrubbing, any bad guys were cut out, and they were just lightly coated in oil and pricked with a fork.
Baked on a bed of rock salt for around an hour until soft all the way through. Once done, we peeled the skin off by hand (and ate the delicious skin as we went).
The skinless potatoes were squeezed through the potato ricer on top of 250g of plain wheat flour.
Riced potatoes. It was very satisfying to watch the steamy potatoes be turned into squiggly worms.
Riced potato and flour were kneaded lightly with 1 egg until a dough formed. Some extra flour was added to get a smooth consistency which was not too sticky to the touch.
The dough was rolled (a bit too thin – it should have been about twice the thickness, and the slices then closer together) and sliced.
The slices then squished a wee bit and rolled into sausages.
The sausages then chopped into bite-sized pre-gnocchi nuggets.
Each of these nuggets was rolled across the gnocchi board – the grooves helping the gnocchi to hold onto pasta sauce.
During the gnocchi-preparation time, the tomato butter sauce was cooking away and floured zucchini sticks were frying. Once the gnocchi cooking water was gently boiling, half the gnocchi was placed into the pot to cook. At this point, it was watched carefully as peak-cooking is around 10 seconds after the gnocchi has floated to the top of the saucepan.
As each batch of the gnocchi cooked, it was tossed with some of the tomato butter sauce, then all mixed together with a dollop of sauce and some fresh basil on top.
We added some grated pecorino on top, fried salt and vinegar zucchini on the side with some preserved roasted red pepper too.
All up it took a bit of time, but that could have been reduced with better timing of boiled water and hot oil. It ended up tasting great which was a majorly pleasant surprise, and could have easily fed 4 people with the amount it produced! A ‘next time’ is a certainty.