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tips for gnocchi

I've had gnocchi several times, ranging from inedible to the sublime. Hope folks will offer their tips to lead me toward the latter on my first attempt. I know how critical the consistency of the dough is for things like pastas, breads and biscuits. So tips along those lines would be particularly appreciated.

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  1. Pictures are worth a thousand words ...

    Just Google "gnocchi video". You'll find an entire page of video demonstrations on the subject.

    1. I think the best tip is--don't overwork it. it needs some air to be "pillowy".

      1. Presumably you mean potato gnocchi. The term gnocchi covers a great many pasta shapes. Use old potatoes. Younger ones have too much moisture and you'll wind up with mashed potatoes. You can also use an egg to help hold things together.

        1. Don't overwork the dough
          Less moisture in the potatoes = less flour needed = better
          Add flour in small amounts until you have the right consistency (not sticky)
          A ricer is pretty ideal for breaking down the cooked potato
          The shape is important
          The final boil should be small batches in a big-ish pot

          Oh, and never deep fry gnocchi
          ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkXy12... )

          1. thanks for the tips. I have seen different cooking times for how long to boil the gnocchi after they have risen, from 10 seconds to 2 minutes. I am going to start with 20 to 30 seconds. What happens to the gnocchi as they cook longer? Also, I have one recipe that calls for egg white rather than whole egg. What would the difference be? Thanks again.

            1 Reply
            1. re: stymie

              I think a big thing is to watch the amount of flour that you use and the working time, because the more you knead the dough the more gluten is formed, meaning that the gnocci become rubbery in texture. Best boil time is to taste if that makes sense...watch the pot, see when the gnocci rise to the surface, then once they're there, pull one out and taste it. If it falls apart or isn't done then keep on boiling and tasting. I don't go buy cooking time, I go by doneness and taste. I think the difference with the yolk is the richness per se and the color of the gnocci. Whole egg adds fat and binding; egg white adds binding. You'll have to experiment I think because I'm pretty sure both would work. Not a food scientist here, so hopefully someone else has a better grasp of this? For what its worth I usually (normally) make gnocci with ricotta cheese, much easier than boiling up potatoes, draining, mashing blah blah blah LOL. OH another tip for the potatoes? You could drain them well once boiled, then put them back in the pot and cover with a dishtowel to absorb the steam. This will dry out the spuds. I've seen them done with baked potato, too, vice boiled. And a ricer is vital. :)