I'm going to make gnocchi for the first time this week:) I've looked up many recipes online and my question is, is it really as easy as it sounds? Are there any tricks? It seems like it shouldn't be that easy and like all good things, i'm sure there must be subtlety.
I agree, I love to make ricotta gnocchi, and made some pumpkin, too. Very easy! The trick on the back of a fork is not hard, either. I have a couple of gnocchi dishes on my blog, with pics. (they won't let me link in a post, you have to go to my profile, NO ads on the blog, just for fun, a hobby)
Yep, it really is easy to make them. Although, I confess I almost always buy ready made from the supermarket
If you are talking potato gnocchi, I think they are difficult to make well. You want the to be "like clouds" but mine often come out like lead.
The biggest mistake that most people make with potato gnocchi (me included) is OVERWORKING the dough. When you have the potatoes and all the wet ingredients thoroughly mixed then add the flour and work it lightly until the flour is integrated. You DO NOT need to knead it and if you overwork the dough it will be dense and result in a plate full of gut bombs.
I just went and weighed potatoes to try and help you, so this is far from gospel. I'd estimate that 10 oz. of potato by weight would be approximately one cup of cooked potato. Hopefully that will help you gauge the amounts for the recipe you are using.
Gnocchi is a learned thing - it can take a few tries until you get the feel for it. My advice is to go easy on the flour and egg. They are necessary but too much of either makes for a dense gnocchi.
I hope you enjoy and try again to tweak. You might want to get a kitchen scale when you have a chance - it's a great tool.
okay so I made them! A few problems - I didn't have a potato ricer. I think I definitely need one to get that properly crumbly texture. Also how do you mix the flour and egg without really kneading it? How many times can you mix it without calling it kneading? The other problem is they don't have perfect shapes.
I add the egg to the potato mixture and make sure it is all incorporated and then add the flour to the wet mixture. Like making muffins, you just want to mix until the dry ingredients (in this case flour and salt) are moistened. You don't need to knead the dough like you would with a regular pasta dough.
Then you just quarter the dough and roll each quarter into a tube with your hands until it is about the diameter of a AA battery. Then using a dough cutter, cut about 1" lengths. Then roll each one using the back of a fork or a gnochi board onto a floured sheet pan. They won't be perfect but they should all have approximately the same shape. The key is kind of push in with your thumb as you roll so they get a little hollow space in the middle that will hold the sauce.
I agree that ricotta gnocchi is easy to make. Here is the recipe I like to use that I received from a personal chef friend of mine.
Ricotta Gnocchi in a Flash!
2 pounds ricotta cheese
all purpose flour (enough to fill the cheese container, leveled off)
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh basil marinara
grated Parmesan cheese
Place the ricotta into a mixing bowl. Measure the exact amount of all purpose flour needed to fill the container. Level it off. Add to the ricotta cheese with the salt and blend well.
Take the dough and roll it onto 1 inch ropes. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Press with your thumb to make an indentation or roll off a fork like traditional gnocchi.
Place prepared gnocchi onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. They may be frozen at this point. Freeze, then place in Ziploc bags for later use. Fresh or frozen, to prepare gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the gnocchi and return to boil. When the gnocchi float to the top they are done, about 3 - 5 minutes.
Fresh Basil Marinara Sauce
makes about 4 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 ounce) can peeled whole plum tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
red pepper flakes to taste
1 tablespoon sugar
2 stalks fresh basil leaves or 1 heaping teaspoon dried basil
In a saucepan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and onion. Saute for 6 - 8 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and saute an additional minute. Carefully pour in the tomatoes and add the salt, red pepper flakes, and sugar. Stir and bring just to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer, add the basil and continue cooking for about 20 minutes.
Remove basil from the sauce. Cool, package and refrigerate until ready to enjoy.
If you want to check out some photos to go along with the recipe, here is a link to them.