Before we talk about potato gnocchi, have you discovered your favourite garlic mash potato I talked about on Tuesday? Garlic mash potato 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 the way you like 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 mash potato leftovers. And any respectable home-cook should make up another meal from any leftovers including mashed potatoes!
Let’s make some Polish style leftover mash potato gnocchi!
If you have not made potato gnocchi before, you might be surprised how easy it is. I love these baby sized dumplings served with some of my home-made garlic butter, caramelised onions, or with some rich meaty goulash, or a traditional sauerkraut 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!
Potato gnocchi can be a very satisfying if not filling part of a meal. To make things a bit lighter I sometimes like to replace an even part of mashed potatoes with ricotta cheese for even more delicate texture and an interesting flavour. This is a fairly popular practise in Italy, where the potato gnocchi come from. They are served there as a first course, on its own, or in a soup.
In my home country potato gnocchi are known as kopytka, meaning “little hooves”. They are served as a main course only, often with hearty, meat stews or rich sauces, caramelised onions and fried bacon or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Although traditional, Italian potato gnocchi are made with only potato and flour (no egg, no ricotta only a bit of salt & pepper) in Poland we like to add an egg and also a bit more flour. This makes the gnocchi a bit tougher and more like dumplings in texture, which can be quite convenient when it comes to serving them with some piping hot, heavier, winter, meaty sauces and reheating it all together afterwards – they will not dissolve into the sauce as the traditional, delicate, Italian style potato gnocchi. Promise!
- 200 g garlic or plain mash potato
- ½ head of roasted garlic (optional) - cloves squeezed out
- 130 g (1 cup ) 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 mash potato, 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. (Feel free to impress ridges into your gnocchi with the back of a fork. This does not influence the flavour thoigh.)
- Place the first batch of cut gnocchi in the simmering water and cook until they start to 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.