Thursday, November 4, 2010

Learn to Make Homemade Gnocchi

Last week, I hinted that I'd share with you a great recipe for making homemade gnocchi.  I wanted to make good on that promise and provide you with a helpful recipe (and some video instruction too) to transform you into a master gnocchi-maker. 

I learned to make the ever-so-intimidating gnocchi at the New York Culinary Experience, and had the best instructor in the world, Chef Marco Canora.  It was a pleasure learning from this culinary master and even though I won't lie and tell you that making gnocchi is easy, it can certainly be done with everyday simple tools.  All you need is potatoes, flour, some strong hands and a nice, big flat surface for rolling out dough.  Once you get into it and commit, you'll find yourself succeeding, and on top of that, you'll have a great time.  And when you taste your fresh gnocchi, you won't ever want to go back to the packaged product. 

In case you need ideas on how to pair it, the braised rabbit stew that I introduced last week is a perfect accompaniment.

Homemade Gnocchi - as taught by Chef Marco Canora:


3 large russet (Idaho) potatoes, scrubbed
Freshly ground white pepper
1 egg yolk
About 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
About 4 tbs (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced

1 tbs chopped fresh sage
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prick the potatoes with a fork and bake them until they are soft, about 1 1/2 hours.  While they are still hot, cut all of the potatoes in half lengthwise - you want to create as much surface area as possible so the steam billows out. 

Scoop the potatoes out of the skins and into a fine-holed ricer.  Pass them through the ricer onto a large clean work surface - use your counter top or kitchen table.  Using the end of a large metal kitchen spoon, spread the potatoes into an even rectangle, about 24" x 12".

Season the potatoes generously with white pepper.  When they are no longer hot to the touch, almost room temperature, beat the egg yolk.  Then drizzle the yolk over the potatoes; measure 1 1/4 cups flour and sprinkle over the potatoes.

Using a pastry scraper, cut the flour and egg into the potatoes, chopping and then turning the mixture in on itself and folding it over, until everything is well mixed and the dough resembles coarse crumbs.  Bring the mixture together into a ball.

Sprinkle a scant 1/4 cup flour on the work surface.  Place the dough on the flour and press down, flattening it into a disk with both hands.  Dust the dough with another scant 3/4 cup of flour.  Using your hands, fold and press the dough until the flour is incorporated.  Add 2 dustings of flour to the work surface and dough and repeat.  If the dough still feels tacky, repeat once more, this time covering both the table and the dough with no more than 2 tbs of flour.  You can also watch this video of Chef Marco demonstrating the fold and press technique.

Roll the dough into a compact log.  Dust the outside with flour, and then allow the dough to rest for about 5 minutes.  Dust the surface lightly with flour.  Divide the log into 8 pieces.  Roll each section into a cylinder about 1/2" thick.  Watch this video of Chef Canora showing how to roll out the gnocchi dough.  Using a floured knife or pastry cutter, cut the dough into gnocchi about 1" long.

Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil.  Working in 2 or 3 batches, drop the gnocchi into the water and cook, stirring occasionally, until they float, about 2-3 minutes.  Retrieve the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and put them on a baking sheet or plate.

While the gnocchi cook, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the sage and season with salt and black pepper.  Allow the butter to brown slightly, about 4  minutes.  Add the gnocchi to the browned butter and remove the pan from the heat.  Mix gently and served topped with Parmigiano.

1 comment:

  1. My buddy's very Italian mother used to invite all of his friends over for gnocchi making parties. Definitely the best and most fun way to cut down the work. We would have so much fun, 20 years later I still remember the laughter, the smells, and the great food.



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