Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Gnocchi, step by step in pictures

Kelli and I have been in the kitchen quite a bit lately, doing a fair bit of recipe development and recipe testing. One of our recent projects was making gluten-free gnocchi, a pasta-potato hybrid that's popular in Italy and South America (especially Argentina). Think of gnocchi this way: if a mashed potato dumpling and a fresh pasta noodle had a love child, gnocchi would be it.

Almost every gnocchi recipe you see has more or less just four ingredients: flour, potato, egg, and salt. Ours is no different, using GF flour in the place of regular flour. Kelli worked the ingredients into a dough, then rolled the dough into a long, slender "tube," and lastly cut the tube into short segments. Then she rolled each segment across the tines of a fork, which gives a nice cosmetic touch, and helps to "grab" whatever sauce you put on your gnocchi.

As she made more and more gnocchi, the finished ones went into a bowl with a little flour, to prevent them from sticking together. Meanwhile, we boiled a pot of salted water.

We boiled the gnocchi in batches. When you first drop them into the water, they sink. After a few minutes, they'll rise to the surface. At this point, we gave them an extra 2-3 minutes of boiling time, then removed them from the water with a slotted spoon before starting the next batch.

This is what the finished gnocchi looked like. They're tender, and quite tasty...but they could use some window dressing (aka tasty sauce).

I made a quick and easy marinara sauce with tomato, basil, garlic and salt, and voila! Gnocchi for dinner.

- Pete


Emily said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I haven't had gnocci in years! It's the best. :)

peterbronski said...

Hi Emily. It had been a while for us, too. We're glad to have gnocchi back in the rotation!

Cheers, Pete

Phoebe said...

My first attempt at making GF gnocchi last December was a miserable failure. Please let us know what your recipe is!!

GFE--gluten free easily said...

Wow, you guys--impressive! Can't wait to try this method. Just another example that you can make most of the same foods just by replacing the flour with GF flour. That's how I make my popovers, puffs, etc. ... things that one would think have to have gluten. I have to add some xanthan gum to the popovers and most recipes, but not all (e.g., puffs recipe).

Thanks so much! :-)

peterbronski said...

Hi Phoebe,

Here's our recipe for GF gnocchi:

2 pounds (3-5) starchy potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
1 - 1 ½ cups all purpose GF flour

Peel and boil the potatoes, then mash them until their consistency is smooth but not pasty. Mound the potatoes on your work surface, form a well, and add the eggs, salt and 1 cup of flour. Work it into a dough, adding more flour if needed to achieve a soft, smooth, but not tacky, consistency. Then work the dough according to the photo series, and you'll have GF gnocchi!

Cheers, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hey Shirley,

Yes, we find that a good all purpose GF flour blend is a great tool for converting gluten recipes to be GF. And we often add a supplemental amount of xanthan gum, but that varies from recipe to recipe. Some need none. Some get an extra 2-plus teaspoons. It all depends on what you're making!

Cheers, Pete

Andrea said...

Your gnocchi look really tasty. I have been wanting to try out making these myself. What brand of "all purpose" gf flour did you use? I ask because they all are so different. I know Bob's Red Mill has one. And there was another company that had more bean flour in theirs, but I think they are no longer around. Too bad because I made great scones with their product. Anyway, I usually try to make a "blend" myself. Thanks so much for sharing, looking forward to trying this out.

peterbronski said...

Hi Andrea... was use our own custom GF flour blend, which is comprised of sorghum flour, brown rice flour, cornstarch, potato starch, potato flour, and xanthan gum. However, I imagine that many all-purpose GF flour blends (such as that of Bob's Red Mill) would work for gnocchi, as it's a recipe that's less dependent on the nuances of a particular flour blend (and there are many of those in GF baking!). We tend to stay away from bean flours in own GF baking and cooking - in our experience, it tends to yield an undesirable flavor and aftertaste to the food.

Cheers, Pete