It is easier to master a process when you have an expert coach on hand to guide and assist you. A demonstration, a hands on lesson and advice from a chef on Italy’s Amalfi Coast has made all the difference in the world to my gnocchi. Not surprising really is it !? This is another recipe from our Italy trip and stay at La Cucina del Gusto cooking school with Chef Carmen. Despite what you may think, gnocchi is not time consuming to make and not tricky. It is actually very simple and is a quick, low cost dinner. For my family I make two batches using the recipe below and have it completed in just under one hour.
I have been making all of the Italian recipes we learned often since we returned. This one is probably to children’s favorite.
I like it as it is the perfect meal to make when there is not much in the fridge. With just a few ingredients it is complete.
Most of the recipes we learned to cook during our stay were classic Italian recipes – pizza, ravioli, gnocchi and some seafood dishes. It was fabulous to learn how each of these are actually made by an Italian chef. I had previously made pizza, ravioli and gnocchi but not like the Italians do. I came home armed with a whole collection of tips that make the world of difference to the meal you create.
These are the tips I learned to make perfect gnocchi :
- Use a brown skinned potato (there was no specific type)
- Use a potato that is not too fresh
- Add the flour a little at a time
- Don’t handle the dough too much
- Roll the dough into thin logs, or pieces
- Cut the gnocchi into small pieces as this ensures it will never be stodgy
- After cooking the gnocchi skim it off the top of the pot and put it into a bowl of iced water until the ice melts
- Extra gnocchi can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days. Don’t cover it with cling film. Put a plate on top of the bowl
Here is the recipe for that perfect gnocchi. The recipe has been modified slightly, it is the recipe Chef Carmen taught us at La Cucina del Gusto Cooking School
- 1 medium sized potato – cooked (boiled with skin on), cooled and peeled
- ¼ – ½ cup 00 flour
- 1 egg yolk
- generous pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Set a pot of water to boil and ensure you have ice cubes available to use
- Put the cooked potato into a potato mouli or ricer and make a pile with it on a clean bench
- Add some of the flour around the outside of the potato. Do not use all of the flour. Start with half.
- Make a hole in the middle of potato and add the egg yolk, salt and oil
- Mix with a fork until well combined bringing the flour into the mix
- Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. It should feel quite silky and be a smooth texture.
- Gently massage the dough into a ball
- Break or cut the dough into 6-8 pieces
- Roll into logs of an even width
- Cut into small cubes 1 cm in length
- Set a pot of water to boil on the stove
- Add a pinch of salt and the gnocchi
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the gnocchi as it floats to the surface of the pot (a couple of minutes)
- Put the gnocchi into a bowl with about 6 ice cubes and wait until the cubes melt
- Gently drain the water from the gnocchi and place the gnocchi into a bowl
- Drizzle generously with olive oil and mix it through with your fingers to coat the gnocchi. This prevents it sticking together.
- Place in the fridge covered with a plate until required
- To serve make your sauce, then add the gnocchi to the pan to warm
We were taught that the way to assemble this dish to serve is to make the sauce, add the gnocchi and some mozzarella to the pan. Top with parmesan and bake for 15 min. I have been making it in a pan, either way is perfectly perfect.
I published a recipe for gnocchi awhile ago. There is nothing wrong with that recipe, it works well but the techniques below make even better gnocchi! Plus my original one had a sauce that really lacked the simplicity of Italian cooking. Perfectly light puffy little pillows of potato. Easy! Give it a go. I am sure you will be hooked too.
Have you ever been shown a better way to make something you have previously made?