I'll be honest. I had never even heard of gnocchi until we moved to New York. And I'm still not sure how to pronounce it. But I have learned that it's absolutely delicious. I've been fortunate to test a variety of gnocchi, from plain old potato gnocchi with marinara sauce, to gnocchi with an incredible blue cheese sauce, to pumpkin and spinach gnocchi. It's easy to buy in the grocery stores up here, but it seems a bit overpriced....I mean really, it's potatoes and flour. So I decided it was time to try making it myself, from scratch.
I looked at a variety of recipes online (101 cookbooks, The Italian Dish, Epicurious, and some random blog by a girl named Christine) and then mashed them altogether to come up with a game plan. From the onset, I could tell this was going to be an ordeal, so I decided to go ahead and double the recipe so that I'd have some leftover to freeze. This is the recipe I ended up with:
4 russet potatoes
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups flour
a pinch of salt
additional flour for rolling
I boiled the potatoes for about 45 minutes, with the skin on as this was recommended in order to keep the potatoes dry - apparently gnocchi is finicky. I let the potatoes cool for a few minutes and then carefully removed the skin. Then I mashed them all up, stirred in the egg yolks, salt, and flour. That formed a nice dough that was actually very easy to work with, not sticky at all. I then rolled out the dough into long snake-like rolls one portion at a time and chopped them up into little gnocchi-size pieces with a Pampered Chef tool. This was my first time using this tool and I have no idea what it's purpose is, but it seemed like it would do the job. I was too lazy to make individual ridges in the gnocchi with a fork like some of the recipes called for, so I figured this PF tool would be good enough.
I took about half of the gnocchi, arranged it on a plate, and froze it for 15 minutes before moving it to a freezer bag. This way it wouldn't all stick together in the freezer.
To cook the gnocchi, I took about 20 pieces at a time and boiled them in salted water for about 5 minutes, and then moved on to the next batch. All of the recipes said that they will float to the top when they are ready or about a minute before they are done. Well, my buoyant little gnocchi floated to the top after about 1 minute...so I'm not sure what went wrong there.
Then the sauce. The sauce is important, and I couldn't decide on one...so I made two. I made a mushroom and shallot sauce similar to the Epicurious recipe and bought a jar of Newman's Own vodka sauce as the backup.
Overall, I was pretty pleased with the way it turned out. The gnocchi held together very nicely and the texture was perfect. It was quite a lot of work, though, so I'm glad that I have some in the freezer ready to go for next time.