July 14, 2004

A Gift

I'm going to give you something. If you aren't into food, you'll probably think it's not that great of a gift. But, if you are, even just a little bit--you should try it out. I bet you'll be glad you did.

See, I love home made gnocchi. I've made it about 6 times in the last 2 years. Each time, it's turned out differently. First, the balls were heavy, doughy, starchy rocks. The next time, they fell apart in the boiling water (probably because I was scared of overkneading and adding too much flour due to the previous time). The third time, I followed a different recipe and steamed the potatoes instead of boiling--they turned out perfectly although it was very time consuming. The fourth time, following the exact same recipe, they were mealy. The fifth time, I went back to boiling, and again, I had a sauce-topped potato soup. Last night, I decided to try the renegade recipe in Pasta Al Dente.

Thanks Biba! The gnocchi turned out perfectly, and required the least amount of effort of any time I've ever made it.

So, take it from me, in order to make the simplest, easiest, most wonderful gnocchi, follow these steps and skip the boiling, steaming, and eggs.

Ingredients per person:
1 russet potato
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt

To make the Gnocchi:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. Wash, scrub, and dry the potatoes and cut a deep inciscion lengthwise in each one.
3. Bake them uncovered for 1 hour ('til soft).
4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
5. Peel potatoes while still warm and run them through a potato ricer, or for the hard core, mash them with a fork. (Trust me, the food processor, the mixer, and mashing with a masher do not get the consistency you want.)
6. Slowly knead flour and salt into potato mush until the dough is complete.
7. Flour a flat surface and roll orange-sized balls into long ropes.
8. Cut the ropes into 1/2 inch long pieces and pinch the sides. Optional: roll them over a fork or grater for sauce grooves.

(You can refrigerate the uncooked gnocchi for a day or two)

To Cook:
9. Boil a pot of water with a dash of salt.
10. Add the gnocchi about 20 at a time.
11. When they rise to the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon.
12. Place them on paper towels or in a collander to allow the excess water to be removed.
13. Serve immediately, topped with your favorite pasta sauce. (Hint, you can use the pre-heated oven to roast onions, bell-peppers, garlic, etc. for the sauce while you work with the dough.)

You're welcome.

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