Making gnocchi is one of my favorite jobs to do a work. In fact, with some good classical music playing in the background, it doesn't feel like work at all. The big payoff is that once you invest an afternoon in making gnocchi, you can have plently of quick meals ready for you anytime in the freezer.
This recipe makes enough gnocchi for several portions, so you can easily freeze half and save it for another time. You could also make a double batch and really stock up your freezer for several meals. If you do make a double batch, only mix the ingredients together for one recipe at a time, because the dough can get soggy if it sits too long. You can cook & puree all the potatoes at once, and then mix each recipe just before you roll and cut it.
Always spread the gnocchi out on a tray before putting them in the freezer so that they don't stick together. Once the gnocchi are frozen, you can put them in bags so that they take up less space.
Homemade gnocchi work best with really simple garnishes. I like to just toss them in olive oil with diced tomatoes and basil. They're also great with in a cream sauce with bacon. I'll be posting a recipe soon for a really simple sage butter gnocchi that takes minutes to prepare.
Prep time: 1 hour Yields about 8 portions
1 kg potatoes (roughly 3 large potatoes)
2 whole eggs + 1 yolk
3 cups flour
salt & pepper
1. Lay the potatoes on a baking tray and bake uncovered until a knife passes easily through them, about 1 hour.
2. While they are still hot, peel the potatoes and then mash them. To peel hot potatoes, hold the potato in a small kitchen towel and use a paring knife to remove the skin. A potato ricer is the ideal too to puree the potatoes, but a traditional masher works fine - just make sure there are no lumps in the mash. Spread the mash out on a baking tray and allow it to cool - first for a couple of minutes on the counter, then for about 10 minutes more in the fridge.
3. Dust a large work surface with a generous amount of flour and then place the mashed potatoes down on the flour. Add 2 1/4 cups flour and a bit of salt and pepper and gently mix it into the potatoes. Make a well in the top and drop in the 2 eggs and 1 yolk. Use a fork to break up the yolks and whisk the eggs a bit. Use your hands to mix the eggs into the dough. Continue to add flour a bit more at a time until the dough is dry enough to for a ball. The total amount of flour needed will vary according to the moisture content of the potatoes you use.
4. Knead the dough for a good 5 - 10 minutes. Don't worry too much about over-working the dough. A well kneaded dough will make gnocchis that are soft, yet still have some texture to them. My trick to tell if the dough is ready is to give it a good solid punch. When the dough has a bit of resistance and springiness to it, it is ready to be rolled & cut.
5. Divide the dough into 6 balls and roll each one into long strips and then cut the strips into 3/4" (2cm) pieces. Transfer the gnocchi to a floured tray in one even layer. Cook in boiling water until they float to the top, about 3 minutes. Use a bowl a ice water to chill the gnocchi if you don't intend to use them right away.
*Gnocchi can be frozen pre-cooked or raw. Freeze the gnocchis laid out individually on a floured tray that has been wrapped in plastic before transferring them to bags or sealable containers.
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