Friday, February 8, 2013 Slightly Wonky Gnocchi

Almost a year ago Mrs. M and I made this Butternut Squash Gnocchi and it was wonderful. And even before that I've wanted to make Regular Gnocchi, it seems like something every Italian should know.  The recipe I used is another Smitten Kitchen find. So here was my not quite failed attempt at it. I mean it still tasted good but my impatience got the better of me as I baked the potatoes and my Gnocchi dough came out a little stringy. Once boiled it was mostly smooth, so not a complete failure. Definitely not as pretty. Next time I'm going to opt for microwaving the potato, this is a nifty little trick I completely forgot about. It would have saved about 20 minutes or more and probably made for a better result. The best reason I can think of to bake a potato is crispy skin and for Gnocchi peeling the potato is the first step after baking them. While baking the potato might not be a requirement, a nice soft potato is so be more patient than I was and wait for the potato to cook through.

2 lbs Russet Potatoes (about 3)
1 Egg, Lightly Beaten
1 tsp Salt
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 Cups Flour, plus more for Dusting

Cook the  Potatoes: 
Option 1: Oven
Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Stab Potatoes with fork, bake them for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size, until a thin knife can easily pierce through them.
Option 2: Microwave Oven
Stab Potatoes with fork, cook on full power in the microwave for 5 minutes. Turn over, and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.

Make the Dough: 
Let the potatoes cool enough to touch, then peel them with a knife or a peeler. Run the Potatoes through a potato ricer (oh I wish I had a ricer...) or grate them on the large holes of a box grater (grated baked potatoes will fall apart). Cool them to lukewarm, about another 10 minutes. Add the Egg and Salt, mixing to combine. Add 1/2 cup Flour, and mix to combine. Add the next 1/2 cup Flour, mixing again. Add 1/4 cup Flour, and see if this is enough to form a dough that does not easily stick to your hands. If not, add the last 1/4 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is soft but only a little sticky, and able to hold its shape enough to be rolled into a rope. Knead the dough together briefly, gently, on a counter, just for a minute.

Divide the dough into eighths. Roll each piece into a long rope, about 3/4-inch thick. Cut each rope into 3/4-inch lengths. Place the gnocchi on a a parchment-lined tray.

[If you'd like to freeze gnocchi for later user, do so on this tray. Once they are frozen, drop them into a freezer bag until needed. No need to defrost before cooking them; it will just take a minute or two longer.]

Cook the gnocchi: 
Place the gnocchi, a quarter-batch at a time, into a pot of boiling well-salted water. Cook the gnocchi until they float — about 2 minutes — then drain.

Like I said, mine turned out a little wonky but still tasted delicious. And I didn't take process pictures, so three fairly similar pictures of the finished product is all I've got.

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