Hello, garlic loving friends!
Before we talk about gnocchi, have you discovered your favourite garlic mashed potatoes I talked about on Tuesday? Garlic mashed potatoes could mean different things to different people when it comes to the method and the flavour. You see, to me it is a bit like with steak or with eggs. Not everybody likes them cooked the same way! Scrambled, poached, fried, omelet, soft, medium, hard…etc.
Getting to the point now: If you did your testing, you might have been left with some garlic mashed potato leftover, which a good cook should make up another meal from. This could not be easier if you have an egg and a bit of flour.
Let’s make some gnocchi!
If you have not made gnocchi before, you might be surprised how easy it is. Frankly, it is rather difficult to get it wrong! I love these baby sized dumplings fried with onions or with some rich goulash or a stew. I used to have them very often as a child. I remember having a good fun while helping to make them too, just like with pierogi! Gnocchi have more flavour than pasta and a really lovely, slightly chewy texture.
Just like potatoes, pasta, or any dumplings, the gnocchi can be a satisfying part of a meal or a meal on its own. Especially with some additional flavouring in your dough like roasted garlic (that’s my favourite one! 🙂 ), spinach or herbs.
Sometimes, I like to replace an even part of mashed potatoes with ricotta cheese for even more delicate texture and an interesting flavour. This is a very popular practise in Italy, where gnocchi come from. They are served there as a first course, on its own, or in a soup. In my home country gnocchi are known as kopytka, meaning “little hooves”, and are served as a main course instead, often with meat stews or sauces, fried onions, bacon or a sprinkle of cheese over.
I used to make gnocchi the way I learned to make them back in Poland, with simply boiled potatoes. They are all right, but I find them a bit tougher and effectively chewier (if a word like this exists! 🙂 ) than if they are made with some butter & milk mashed potatoes. Either way, there is no wrong or right way – it is simply a matter of a slightly different texture.
- 180 g garlic or plain mashed potatoes
- 70 g ricotta cheese
- 1-2 heads of roasted garlic (optional) - cloves squeezed out
- 350 g plain flour, and more for dusting
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ tbsp fine sea salt
- Set a large, deep pan with 1 litre of water and 1 tbsp of salt to boil.
- Place cold mashed potatoes, roasted garlic cloves, egg, ½ tsp salt and pepper in a large bowl and mash with a hand masher until well combined.
- Add most of the flour to the potatoes and start incorporating the four into the mash using your hand.
- Transfer the rough dough bowl into a lightly floured surface and knead (like a bread dough) adding more flour as needed, so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands.
- Divide the dough into 6-8 smaller balls and roll the first one with the palms of your hands and fingers into a long, rope shape, which is about ¾ inches thick.
- Now, using a knife, cut the dough rope into 1 inch pieces.
- Place the first batch of cut gnocchi in the simmering water and cook for about 3 minutes after they came floating up on the surface. Using a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi from the water and place in a separate bowl. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.
- When all gnocchi are cooked, transfer them from the bowl into a colander and rinse them well with cold, running, tap water. This will remove any excess flour that could make the gnocchi stick together.