Classic Potato Gnocchi (no eggs)
In a classic tomato sauce
Gnocchi can be a little tricky the first times you try - I see a lot of recipes that use way too much flour. This makes gnocchi definitely easier to knead, but also heavy and chewy...and you don't want that.
So, I've decided to put together a short tutorial video and a few tips for you to keep in mind to end up with perfect, light and fluffy gnocchi:
Choose the right potato. They say old potatoes work best for gnocchi as they'll absorb less moisture. I also choose red skin potatoes as they somehow seem to work better, though this is not a must.
For 1kg of potatoes, use no more than 300g flour. The exact amount will depend on the quality of your potatoes and how much moisture they retain. I ended up using around 200-250g. Add flour, one spoon at a time.
Work your dough while the potatoes are still hot. The steam will help create the dough without adding any water at all.
Knead the dough as quickly and as little as possible. The more you knead, the harder it becomes. If you let it sit on the counter for too long, it releases moisture and will require additional flour. Move quickly for better results.
But let's move on to the recipe.
Ingredients (for 4)
1 kg potatoes
300 g flour (preferably 00 flour)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp instant potato mash (optional, makes them fluffier)
For the tomato sauce:
400 g tomato polpa or finely chopped / grated tomatoes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
A few basil leaves
Steam or boil the potatoes, keeping in mind that with steaming they'll absorb less moisture and thus require less flour for the kneading. I boiled mine in this case.
Allow them to cook enough to handle without completely burning your fingers, but not completely. Remove the skins and mash with a fork or, better, with a potato masher until you obtain a homogeneous mash with no lumps. Do this as quickly as you can to prevent the potatoes from cooling off completely.
As you are mashing the potatoes, add the salt, instant potato mash (if using), then start adding the flour one spoon at a time and start kneading.
Knead energetically and quickly with both your hands to form a smooth and very soft ball. It should hold together without crumbling. Dust a little flour on it and cover with a kitchen towel.
Tear a golfball-sized piece of dough and cover the rest. Roll this piece of dough on a floured surface to form a long tubular shape about 2cm thick. Cut the dough into equal sized gnocchi and place on a floured surface.
You can now cook them straight away or, using either a ridged gnocchi board, or the back of a fork, roll each gnocchi over it to impart the typical striped texture.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and plunge your gnocchi in it. They'll only take 1-2 minutes to cook and you'll know they are ready once they come up floating.
Note: If you are not using all the gnocchi straight away, the best way to store them is by freezing them (they stick together easily if you keep them in the fridge). To freeze them, place them on a tray so that they are not touching each other; then place the tray in the freezer for a few hours. Once they are frozen, you can transfer them to a ziplock bag and place them back in the freezer, where they now won't stick to each other.
When you are ready to cook them, drop them in boiling hot water while they are still frozen. IMPORTANT: do not defrost first, and then cook and they'll completely lose their texture if you do so. In the freezer, they'll last for several months.
Now for the tomato sauce:
Heat the olive oil and add the minced garlic, let it brown slightly. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and sugar, add half a glass of water and cook on medium low for about 40 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the oil separated. Add the fresh basil and switch off the flame.
Throw the cooked gnocchi in the sauce, mix well, then shower with a generous amount of grated cheese.
Word of the Day
(pomodoro, pronounced po·mo·dò·ro)