pasta & recipes: potato gnocchi recipe
Having recently written about the potato ricer gadget we felt we’d offer another recipe in which this gadget is handy. Making potato gnocchi is fast and easy, particularly with a ricer in hand. The potatoes most suitable for gnocchi are russet potatoes so please don’t substitute with any other variety.
If you are a tactile person like us you will lover the silky feel of the gnocchi dough. When rolling into large ropes you will recall your childhood Play Doh days. This gnocchi dough feels so good that you’ll be hesitant to stop rolling it. But, alas, you must for overworking the dough is a no-no. Since we also recently wrote about gluten let us explain why overworking dough makes it tough.
Gluten is a mixture of wheat proteins that stick when water is added. They are not water soluble, but they do form a sort of partnership with the water molecules and with each other. You may be saying to yourself, “But, there is no water in the gnocchi recipe.” True, but potatoes are made up of between 75%-80% water. Even after being baked, the potato will retain much of its water.
Because of gluten, wheat flour is elastic due to the way in which molecular bonds are formed. The bonds are weak so if they are allowed to relax the dough will not be tight. This is why, when baking bread, there must be a period of rest for the dough. Since gnocchi is a very simple wheat and potato dough it doesn’t require much work and should not be over handled.
The marinara recipe included with the gnocchi recipe is one that was used in the summer as it is simple and light. It is perfect for heavier pastas and gnocchi because it is light and flavorful. There are few ingredients in this marinara so do not skimp on them.
Potato Gnocchi Recipe (Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)
2 large russet potatoes
1 ¼ cups of all purpose flour (more if needed)
1 teaspoon of salt
Marinara Sauce (See recipe below.)
1. Bake the potatoes in a 400F oven until tender. Then cut them open and scoop out the potato from the skins after they’ve cooled enough to handle but are still warm.
2. Pass the potatoes through a ricer or food mill. (If you have neither then make sure you mash them extremely well. They should be light and fluffy. Let them cool to room temperature and then add the salt and sprinkle with the flour.
3. Using your hands, gently work the mixture until you have smooth, soft dough. If it’s too sticky add more flour. Don’t knead or overwork the dough.
4. Take a 1/4 of the dough and roll it out into a large rope about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the rope into diagonal pieces about ¼ inch long. Set these in a single layer on a baking sheet lightly dusted with flour. Repeat with the remaining dough, then cover with a towel and refrigerate if you are not ready to cook them. They can remain refrigerated for a few hours.
5. To cook them, add salt to a large pot of boiling water and then add about a quarter of the gnocchi. As they rise to the top, count to ten and then remove with a strainer. Put a bowl with marinara nearby so that you can put the gnocchi into the marinara. This will keep the gnocchi from sticking to each other. Serve immediately.
1 large can tomato puree (29ounce can)
1 large can crushed tomato (29ounce can)
½ cup olive oil
Heaping handful of fresh basil, whole leaf. (Only use fresh)
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1. In a medium saucepan add the oil and garlic. Warm garlic in oil for a couple minutes, on low-medium heat. Do not let it brown.
2. Add the tomatoes, basil and salt. Bring to a low boil, stir often.
3. Cover and let simmer on low heat for 2 of more hours, stirring occasionally.