Gnocchi with Pesto

It has come to my attention that although, I have two gnocchi recipes posted, neither of them are for a standard, no frills gnocchi.  I have decided to remedy that this week with a step by step guide to basic gnocchi making, along with an attempt to photograph the proceeder.  Somehow flour coated hands and photography seem slightly counter intuitive, and I have to make a conscious effort to stop and photograph the process. I have topped my gnocchi with some of the pesto I had made and froze at the end of last summer.

Gnocchi

Ingredients:

  • 3 Potatoes (medium sized)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Eggs (room temp)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups Flour

Directions:

IMG_8041

  1. Prepare the potatoes: there are two ways of completing this step – the long way which involves boiling the potatoes or the short way, which involves plopping them in the microwave.
    1.  The Short:
      1. One of the keys to making light gnocchi is to use as little flour as possible, which means that you want to keep things as dry as possible.  Generally, when a recipe requires cook potatoes I head for the boiling water, but in the case of gnocchi, I have found the microwave can be the best way to go.  The microwave will draw some of the moisture out of the potatoes, ergo, less flour.  Microwave your potatoes.
      2. Allow your potatoes to cool fully.
      3. Remove the potato skins.
      4. Grate your potatoes or run them through a ricer.  The potatoes should already be slightly mushy and easy to mash.
    2. The Long:
      1. Boil the peeled potatoes until you can easily poke a fork through them – about 20 minutes.
      2. Drain the water from the potatoes, and set them aside to cool and dry for a couple of hours before mashing them.  Again the drier, the better when it comes to potatoes and gnocchi, and depending on the humidity you should be able to air dry them a bit before processing to the next step.
      3. Grate your potatoes or run them through a ricer.  The potatoes should already be slightly mushy and easy to mash.
  2. Add the egg and salt to your potatoes, using your hand to mush it all together.
  3. IMG_8050Add about a 1 – 1/2 cup of flour to your potatoes, remembering that when it comes to flour and gnocchi, less is more.  You want to add just enough flour to form a light, slightly sticky dough, but not a heavy, solid dough.  I usually start with adding half of a cup of flour, and gradually add more if needed.
  4. IMG_8064
    Allow your dough to rest for about 1/2 a hour to activate the gluten.  If the dough is still fairly moist you do not have to cover it, but I usually set an inverted glass mixing bowl on top of my dough so that the moisture does not escape.  By activating the gluten the dough will hold itself together and retain its structure.
  5. IMG_7133Form the gnocchi:
    1. Cut the dough into quarters.
    2. Use your hands to roll each quarter out into long logs. Dusting with flour as needed, but once again sparingly.
    3. Use a sharp knife to cut the logs into evenly portioned gnocchi.  Part of the charm of homemade gnocchi is that they never turn out even and perfect, but they taste wonderful – light, fluffy clouds of potato-y goodness.
  6. img_0216.jpg
    Allow your gnocchi sit out and dry for an hour or two before cooking.  The photo above is actually of my black pepper gnocchi drying, just ignore the black specks.
  7. IMG_8072To cook your gnocchi, gently, sauté them in a hot pan with some olive oil until golden brown. Cook your gnocchi in a series of rounds so that you do not over crowd your pan and mush the gnocchi together.  It usually takes me about three rounds to cook all of my gnocchi, but it only takes a few minutes to cook each round.  Add the sauce after the gnocchi has been fully cooked.  Do not cook your gnocchi in a sauce.  They will turn to mush.

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