Gaylord and I had high hopes for our gnocchi endeavor. Neither one of us has ever made any type of homemade pasta before, so we were pretty excited to try our hand at gnocchi. We began at approximately 5 p.m. when we got back from shopping for the ingredients and ended at approximately 1 a.m. when we finished off the remaining gnocchi that we could salvage. Yes, that’s right. That we could salvage. The endeavor started out as a disaster. Luckily Gaylord had the forethought to buy extra potatoes. Just in case.
We ambitiously dove into a recipe that involved boiling the potatoes for 40 to 50 minutes as the chosen method for cooking. After careful research, we deemed this recipe the best. Hours later after forgetting to add salt to the boiling water, perhaps boiling the potatoes for too long and being unable to stop the dough from sticking even after adding mounds and mounds of flour, we boiled 8 gnocchi that turned out dense, soggy and tasteless. Boo.
We decided to scrap that recipe because we just couldn’t seem to make it work and instead went for Giada’s recipe, which actually was a lot faster to make as it involves microwaving the potatoes instead of using a big boiling pot of water.
- 1/2 c. butter
- 1 (1-pound) russet potato
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg, beaten to blend
- 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- Pierce the potato all over with a fork. Microwave the potato until tender, turning once, about 12 minutes. Cut the potato in half and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; discard the skin. Using a fork, mash the potato well. Mash in the salt and pepper. Mix in 3 tablespoons of the egg; discard the remaining egg. Sift the flour over the potato mixture and knead just until blended.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece between your palms and the work surface into a 1/2-inch-diameter rope (about 20 inches long). Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece of dough over a wooden paddle with ridges or over the tines of a fork to form grooves in the dough.
- Cook in boiling, salted water until the gnocchi floats to the top. Serve tossed in your favorite sauce and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
In the comment section of the gnocchi recipe that didn’t work for us, one person stated the gnocchi dough in the picture looked too firm. I disagree with that comment! Our original problem was that we couldn’t get the dough firm enough. (If you compare the dough in my picture with the dough in her picture you’ll see a very noticeable difference. The dough in my picture is the sticky dough that didn’t work. I was so excited when we finally got firm dough in round two that I forgot to take pictures, unfortunately.) I found it extremely difficult to work with sticky dough that wasn’t firm. You just couldn’t shape it.
After the big gnocchi debacle of Saturday night we did additional research and noticed that almost every single gnocchi recipe that we ran across slightly varied in its ingredients. If you find a gnocchi recipe that works for you, I would stick with it.
Here’s my final tip on making gnocchi: avoid drinking too much wine or other alcohol on your first (or first few) attempt(s). It’s a slightly involved process and you don’t need anything impairing your cooking speed or ability!