I did it. I made potato gnocchi.
It’s not on my usual roster of food items to make from scratch. But when Greg shopped for Thanksgiving he brought home two, five pound bags of Russet potatoes from Idaho. We only used one bag to feed our Thanksgiving revelers.
I love gnocchi. A little phrase that could appear on a bumper sticker on my 2007 Lexus.
I searched for the perfect recipe but they were mostly the same.
Two pounds of Russet potatoes cooked, not mashed but riced through a potato ricer. Then added to a pile with flour, eggs, salt and pepper. Knead it up. Cut the dough into pieces, make balls from the pieces. Roll the ball into long cylinders about the width of your first finger. Finally cut the cylinders into one inch pieces.
Easy enough. But then come the rules.
- Too much flour makes your gnocchi chewy.
- Too much kneading and your gnocchi get tough.
- Too little flour and they fall apart as they cook.
- Cook immediately, refrigerate or freeze. Do not let them sit out for long.
The tricky part is how to form the gnocchi. One recipe said just make little pillows.
Then there were the videos, long explanations, pictures, and traditions around making the gnocchi have little ridges.
There’s a tool for this. An ancient, finely ridged board that makes gnocchi become real gnocchi. Since Greg and I have a rule about single purpose kitchen items (we rarely buy them or we would be taken over by the smallest of things like a mushroom cleaning brush, potato ricer, or avocado slicer), I opted for clumsily rolling them down the tines on the back of a fork. Very old school.
As I struggled I wondered why gnocchi had to have ridges. Duh — to hold the sauce. An ancient solution to a technical problem.
Since I had five pounds of potatoes I doubled the batch. I should have thought about that a bit more before I started. I was kneading, making cylinders, cutting and rolling little pillows of heaven for hours.
Most of them are in the freezer. I left a few out and gave a big batch to my friends Kris and Tom. Tom showed me his Italian Grandmother’s technique for the two-finger, gnocchi board pillow making. He also taught me how to properly pronounce gnocchi. Not sure I quite mastered the Italian pronunciation.
A few hours later they texted. The gnocchi passed the test. They were delicious.
By that time I’d already eaten all of mine, sautéed in butter (and olive oil), and covered with melted parmesan cheese.