Reporting back on Serge's homemade gnocchi-YUM!
Made my first batch of gnocchi tonight, following the simple instructions posted by Serge a day or two ago.
The gnocchi turned out surprisingly well, considering this was my first attempt at any kind of pasta. It could have been fluffier, but it was better than anything I've bought in the freezer isle at Trader Joe's. IMHO, it was better than medium restaurant gnocchi and has potential to be as good as great restaurant gnocchi--with practice and TLC. An easy way to impress guests:fluffy, moist, bite-size pasta that takes minutes to make.
Some tips from my short adventure:
-cook the potato until tender, but don't let it split. The more moisture that's in the potato itself, the more flour you're going to make, and the harder the finished product will be. I made this mistake and was very careful not to add too much flour. It was okay, but could have been better
-don't use the whole amount of flour if you don't have to
-if you're not sure whether to use 2 or 3 potatoes, err on the side of using more potato rather than less.
-cut into little pieces rather than big pieces. I started out with thumb-sized and experimented down to pinky sized. I liked the little ones best!
Thanks Serge! What a great recipe for those days when you've got nothing in your pantry!
Thank you for the kind words! I can't take the credit, though, my wife is the one who is fully responcible!
Today is our 2 years anniversary and all I can say -
I married well! (even though I gained a few pounds ;)
Glad you enjoy gnocci and I'll ask her to post her home made pasta recepe with porcini & gorgonzola sauce.....which is adding me pounds as we speak!
Having a glass of 2000 Chianti with gnocci put them 10 steps ahead above Trader Joe every time.
This is Serge's wife speaking....LOL
You're absolutely right about all your observations on the gnocchi...use less flour rather than more when possible, don't cook the potatoes to a mush but make sure they are cooked through to prevent hard potato lumps, and making smaller pieces are better than big ones.
The first time I made this recipe, I made them the size of small mice and they were way too big.
There are other gnocchi recipes out there...one of the most typical uses baked potatoes instead of boiled, adds an egg yolk or a whole egg, and a bit of oil. However, when I tried these recipes, I got a very tender product that held together but tasted like baked potato and not pasta. I guess it all depends on what you prefer.
I would like my pasta to be a little more tender, but not necessarily tasting like a baked potato. What would you recommend?
-adding an egg, or part of an egg
-adding oil (how much)
-baking the potato
-kneading for less time
I assume I shouldn't do ALL of the above, but is one better at making the dough softer, or should I just add less flour next time? My potato was rather overcooked; was that my biggest problem?
re: original poster
For the most tender gnocchi, I cook the potatoes until soft, drain well, rice through a ricer, and then handle the dough gently as I add flour. If you over-knead it (and in the process, over-flour), the dough will stiffen up, and no amount of cooking will make it tender again.
One egg yolk will add color and a bit of flavor and 2 TBLS oil will change the texture to a bit more silky, but neither addition make the gnocchi more tender.
Without losing sight of the fact you are making pasta, my suggestion is to make the dough as soft as possible, with as little flour as possible, and then cook a couple of gnocchi in some salted boiling water (a small saucepan will do) to make sure they are holding together in the cooking. If they start to fall apart, add a bit more flour, and then re-check the cooking process. I've made so many batches I just KNOW when I've got it right, but it took me awhile to have that "feel".
Also, you can freeze them (uncooked) in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and then freeze in a ziploc bag, and then cook frozen in boiling water, for not-bad results. However, never try to save uncooked and unfrozen in the fridge for the next day, as they become incredibly gummy and are miserable to work with once they sit a few hours.
Good luck! Even slighty less-than perfectly tender homemade gnocchi are SO MUCH BETTER than those little cardboard chunks they sell in the store.