The web came to the rescue with many seemingly simple recipes for potato gnocchi. Gnocchi are little Italian dumplings. Like dumplings everywhere, they can be made from a variety of ingredients, a simple version using potatoes, flour, eggs and salt. The pictures of web versions can be a bit intimidating because they seem so evenly shaped. Mine might more appropriately be called "malfatti," Italian slang for poorly shaped dumplings or pasta. No matter, they were very tasty.
- Cooked russet potatoes, still warm, skins removed.
- 1 egg for each two medium-large potatoes
- Enough flour to make a dough you can handle.
- Salt to taste
- Mash or grate the potatoes by hand. Do not blend or process them. Using a blender makes the potatoes runny which would result in more flour being needed and heavier gnocchi.
- Mix the egg into the potatoes.
- Work in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough leaves the side of the bowl and can be handled.
- Refrigerate the dough a few minutes to stiffen it a bit and make it easier to handle.
- To shape the gnocchi, roll pieces of dough into snakes about 3/4 inch in diameter and cut into 3/4 inch pieces. You may then roll these pieces into balls and roll the balls across the tines of a fork, holes of a grater, or wires of a whisk to make ridges in the gnocchi that will better hold sauce.
To cook the gnocchi, whether frozen or not, bring a pot of water to a boil and gently put the gnocchi in one or two at a time. Make sure the pot is big enough that your gnocchi can poach without touching each other. At first the gnocchi will lie at the bottom of the pan. Move them gently to make sure they are not stuck. Wait until they float and then remove them from the water.
At this point, gnocchi become a wonderful canvas to be painted with sauce, pesto, butter, whatever strikes your fancy.