Potato gnocchi are apparently easy to make, but they hide a series of small pitfalls that can determine the outcome of a bad dish.
What are the secrets to make potato gnocchi that do not lose shape when cooked, that maintain a smooth texture, soft and palatable, and that have the slight taste of potato and not the annoying flavor of flour?
In this recipe we’ll show you a series of small tricks and tips necessary for those who are recently approaching potato gnocchi recipe and want a safe and satisfactory result on the first try.
Which work surface should I use?
For the dough definitely we suggest marble or plastic. Avoid wood surface, at least in the delicate part of the ingredients assembly. Try this non-slip silicone mat that sticks to the table.
What type of potatoes should I use?
When it comes to potato gnocchi, the best choice would be using a dry and starchy potato variety: their puree will be less liquid and therefore will require less amount of flour. Minor amounts of flour also means a better result; this way you will taste the authentic flavor of potatoes. So, if you can, use the Russet or the Yukon Gold potato and place the flour gradually.
If, as in most cases, you have bought potatoes yet and you don’t know what variety they belong, you have to use a series of small steps so that your gnocchi dish will be a success (read more just below).
Now let see how to start with potato gnocchi recipe step by step.
Potato Gnocchi Recipe
- 500 g (about 1 lb) of potatoes (Russet or Yukon Gold)
- 150 g (5,3 oz) of “oo” flour
- 2 tablespoons of 1 beaten egg (about half egg)
- fine salt
1) – Wash the potatoes with their skin under fresh water. Then cook them in a large pot with plenty of water. Occasionally, feel with a fork to check the cooking (from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes). When they are cooked, drain and peel them.
2) – Place the flour on your work surface and make a well in the center then put the potatoes in a potato masher and mash-up, slowly at the beginning, to let out the excess water. Repeat this until all the excess water will be output from the holes. This way the potato masher have to release only the puree. All this operation is worth to prevent the dough to soften too much: if this is your case, don’t make the error of compacting it by adding more flour. The best flavored potato gnocchi are those with less flour as possible. If the dough is still too soft, add a teaspoon of starch, but NOT flour.
3) – Add a pinch of fine salt and 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg (this way yolk and egg white are portioned in equal amounts).
4) – Mix the ingredients with your hands, quickly and for a short time. A long process would make the dough sticky. Potato gnocchi dough has to be mixed very little and possibly when the potatoes are still warm because the heat favors the assembly.
5) – Quickly make a ball and absolutely do not add flour. If you have followed the instructions on how to boil and then drain the potatoes, you will see that it will not be necessary. You will get a soft ball but compact. Now you can work on a wooden surface, if you like. Cut a piece of dough and place it on the floured surface.
6) – With your hand make a long roll of dough as thick as a finger. Slice the roll every 2 cm, so as to obtain small cylinders.
7) – Now you have to use a gnocchi board previously floured: slide your little gnocchi over the gnocchi board by pressing lightly with your thumb. Proceed to make potato gnocchi until all the dough is finished. Let rest gnocchi at room temperature for about 20/30 minutes before cooking.
Why potato gnocchi have to rest before cooking?
Resting time is important for many reasons: they completely cool and slightly dry out on the surface. This step is necessary so that gnocchi can retain their shape even after cooking. In fact, if you put immediately potato gnocchi into the boiling water, they can glue to each other. On the contrary, if you leave gnocchi rest more then half an hour, they may dry out and become dark and hard. The ideal resting time is around 20 minutes, maximum 30.
How to cook potato gnocchi
Gnocchi cooking should be made in a large pot with plenty of salted water. Gnocchi are dipped into boiling water after being slightly shaken by the flour. Do not stir too much during cooking and especially do not do it quickly. Potato gnocchi are ready when they come fully to the surface. At that point drain them (few at a time) with a perforated ladle (not with the colander!). Place them into a bowl with the seasoning you prefer (eg: melted butter, sage and lots of parmesan or pesto alla genovese or bolognese sauce or fresh tomato sauce). Stir slightly and serve.
How to store potato gnocchi? Freezing Gnocchi
Potato gnocchi should not be stored in the refrigerator, otherwise they become dark (potatoes should never be stored in the refrigerator!). In order to maintain for a long time gnocchi, you have to freeze them. Here’s how to do it: put potato gnocchi, well spaced, on floured trays (wood, plastic or cardboard). Place the trays with gnocchi into the freezer. Wait for 2/3 hours then transfer them in food plastic bags and put them back into the freezer. Do not put freshly made still soft gnocchi in plastic bags, otherwise they will stick to each other! Cook gnocchi still frozen in boiling water (as indicated above), directly from the freezer to the pan. This way they will retain the softness and texture of freshly made potato gnocchi.
Do you like pumpkin? Try our recipe of pumpkin gnocchi