First off, let me say that this is truly a foodie indulgence. As far as real foods go, most people have fairly easy access to 100% whole wheat organic pasta, which I believe is an excellent compromise convenience food. It is probably not realistic to make your own pasta for the average family dinner, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun and worthwhile endeavor from time to time.
I was fortunate to grow up around my great-grandmother, who came over from Italy in the early 1900’s. I was able to watch the expert make gnocchi, so it was not an intimidating idea for me to make my own. But I want to reassure you, it is not as difficult as it seems, and my 5 year old helped quite a bit. We made these for a special birthday dinner for my mom, as they remind her of her grandmother.
Bake Potatoes at 400° for approximately 1 hour, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Allow to cool for as short a time as you are comfortable handling them. The hotter they are when you rice them, the fluffier your gnocchi will be. I cut the potato in half, holding it in an oven mitt, and scoop the flesh out into the ricer.
See those potato skins in the background? You weren’t going to throw those out, were you? If you do, you’ll miss out on this chance to make a delicious snack. Top them with butter and shredded cheese, and pop in the toaster oven to crisp. You deserve a reward for all this hard work.
Allow the riced potatoes to cool. Here’s a close up:
Beat the two eggs.
Pour the eggs over the potatoes.
Be sure not to pour the entire bowl of eggs in the same spot. 🙂
Mix salt into flour. Sprinkle flour over potatoes, stop at 3 cups. Again making sure not to pour it all in the same spot.
Now have some fun.
Carefully knead ingredients together until they form a cohesive ball of dough. If it is too sticky, add more flour. The temperature of your kitchen will dictate how much flour you use. Try not to overwork the dough, as it will toughen your gnocchi. Also resist the urge to use too much flour, as that will also toughen your gnocchi. We used approximately 3 cups, plus more for shaping.
Cut off a piece of dough and roll it into a snake.
Cut your snake into small (about 1/2 inch) pieces using a bench scraper(or sharp knife). We call them pillows. Don’t they make the cutest little pillows?
Now take each pillow and roll down the tines of a well floured fork.
Continue with the remaining dough.
Place each finished gnocchi on a lightly floured cookie sheet. Cook in a large pot of salted boiling water until gnocchi float to the top, about 3 minutes. Only cook a few handfuls at a time so they are not crowded. I use a skimmer to remove each batch. They can be frozen before cooking. Freeze directly on the cookie sheet for a few hours, then transfer to another container. They can be cooked directly from the frozen state, until they float to the top. Either way you cook them, be sure to brush as much flour off them as possible.
This recipe made about 3 lbs of gnocchi. Serve with your pasta sauce of choice!