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Pre-cooking Gnocchi for large group - URGENT

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dgranzotti Nov 14, 2009 06:25 AM

I am making a gnocchi dish tonight for 20 people and I absolutely have to pre-cook ahead of time since I will be serving other dishes and there will be no room in the stove or oven. In the past, I have always pre-cook penne pasta, oiled it, cooled it on a large cookie sheet, then stored it in zip-lock bags only once it was completely cooled. I prepared this several hours before and left at room temperature and did not refrigerate. Then, when the sauce was hot, I added the pasta back and cooked it for 5 minutes or so until warmed. The process worked very well provided that the pasta was very Al Dente. Will this work for gnocchi since this is a potato based product?

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    Nyleve RE: dgranzotti Nov 14, 2009 07:53 AM

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but gnocchi is one thing I would never pre-cook. I suspect it will become unpleasantly heavy and gluey when it cools, and then never regain the lightness that makes gnocchi so lovely. You say you will have no room in the stove or oven. I would re-think that assessment. Can you possibly cook anything ELSE ahead of time and keep it warm for the short time the gnocchi will take to cook? That's where I'd look for the solution.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Nyleve
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      dgranzotti RE: Nyleve Nov 14, 2009 08:47 AM

      Thx, the heaviness was my exact worry. Doesn't the oil prevent this from happening? If not, I will have to go to plan B.

      1. re: dgranzotti
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        Nyleve RE: dgranzotti Nov 14, 2009 09:11 AM

        When you toss pasta with oil, it just helps prevent the pasta from sticking together. The actual consistency of the pasta is basically a sturdy, rubbery business. Gnocchi should be more pillowy in texture. The dough lightens as it boils - sort of puffs up slightly. When you remove it from the cooking water, the individual gnocchi will collapse as it cools. The sticking together is only a very small part of the problem here. You may prevent it from sticking together but you can't prevent it from solidifying into a gummy lump. Whatever your Plan B is, go with it.

        1. re: Nyleve
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          dgranzotti RE: Nyleve Nov 14, 2009 02:37 PM

          THX everyone for all of the input, much appreciated! Looks like I will have to move things around a bit and make the gnocchi fresh, no way around it! THX again!

      2. re: Nyleve
        perk RE: Nyleve Nov 14, 2009 02:11 PM

        I did a cooking school vacation in Tuscany and gnocchi was one of our dishes. The instructors told us that we could pre-cook and freeze it, but that was about the only option.
        So....I'm sure it's too late for tonight...but in the future, you might give that a try.

        1. re: perk
          perk RE: perk Nov 14, 2009 04:45 PM

          Ooops. I'm an idiot. They didn't say pre-cook and freeze. They said you could make the dough....form it....and freeze. Sorry.

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        winebarb RE: dgranzotti Nov 14, 2009 08:02 AM

        Totally don't do it. I made the mistake once of pre cooking. What a gluey mess!

        1. mschow RE: dgranzotti Nov 14, 2009 01:50 PM

          I tried this once before myself with gnocchi and it did not turn out well. At all. Agree with the OP; don't do it!

          1. chowser RE: dgranzotti Nov 15, 2009 06:29 AM

            This will be too late to help you but might in the future. I've boiled water first, and then put it in the crockpot on high. Then just before cooking pasta or whatever I need to boil, I put the hot water back into a pot and bring it to a boil. It takes no time at all so you'd only need the burner for 10 minutes, at most, usually less if you're talking about fresh pasta.

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