Saturday, February 27, 2010

Potato Gnocchi

In an attempt to use up some leftover boiled potatoes, I decided to make gnocchi. I was expecting it to be really difficult, but it actually turned out to be really easy!

There are a lot of steps involved but as you can freeze the gnocchi before the blanching stage, it's worth making more than one meal's worth.

I used Maris Piper potatoes for this, you can use whatever kind of potato you have to hand but it's advisable to avoid the waxy varieties.


600g potatoes, unpeeled
200g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg

Place the uncut, unpeeled potatoes in a pan of cold water with a little salt and bring to the boil. The reason for not peeling or cutting the potatoes is that you want the cooked potato to be as dry and starchy as possible. Boil until tender, about 20 mins depending on the size of your potatoes.

Drain the potatoes and peel while still hot. The best way to do this is to cut each cooked potato in half, placing the cut side down on a chopping board and peel the skin off with a knife.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the potatoes until are no lumps left but avoid over-mashing. Stir in the flour and salt and mix to combine.

Add in the egg and beat until you have a dough-like consistency. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead until smooth. If your dough is too dry, you can add some water at this point, or if it is very sticky then you can add additional flour.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces and refrigerate the other 3 while you work on the first piece.

Roll the dough into a long log, about 2 cm in diameter and using a sharp knife, cut the dough into individual pillows about 2 cm wide.

With well-floured hands, shape each section into an oval pillow shape and indent with a fork. Place each pillow of dough onto a floured board and repeat the process with the other 3 pieces of dough.

I found it easier for the next stage to place all the gnocchi into the fridge for an hour so they cooled down before cooking. You can also freeze them at this point, place in the freezer in a single layer until frozen, then you can transfer them to whatever container you wish to store them in.

Cooking the gnocchi is easy, just drop them in a pan of simmering salted water, working in batches so they're not too crowded. When the gnocchi rise to the surface, about 3 minutes when fresh, 6 when frozen, they're cooked. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve in a colander while you poach the remaining batches.

Reheat and sauté the gnocchi in a frying pan in a little olive oil before serving with the sauce of your choice.

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