Gnocchi, or potato dumplings, are a traditional Italian staple dating all the way back to Ancient Rome. They can be made with everything from ricotta and spinach to sweet potatoes and breadcrumbs. But no matter how you make them, when done correctly, homemade gnocchi are the perfect light, fluffy and delicate way to bring any dish to the next level. I like to think of them as little clouds of heaven.
Here's how you make them:
Ingredients 2-3 large starchy potatoes, russet or Idaho work best Up to 2 cups flour ¼ cup egg, beaten lightly, optional - works as a good binder for first-timers 1 tbsp kosher salt
Cut washed potatoes in half and place in a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender (meaning you can easily pierce them with a fork).
Remove from the water and while still warm, peel using a paring knife.
Run the potatoes through a potato ricer to achieve a fine texture or, if you do not have one, use a fork to scrape the sides of the peeled potato, creating a light, fluffy potato base. Do not overwork the potatoes by trying to mash.
Spread out on a baking sheet and allow to cool completely.
Meanwhile, sift 1½ cup flour and kosher salt onto a large cutting board.
Pull the cooled potatoes into a soft mound onto the sifted flour and add the beaten egg if using. Using your hands, gently combine the dough into a uniform mixture, adding more flour a quarter of a cup at a time as needed (dough should be moist but not sticky). Very lightly knead until it springs back, almost like a pizza dough.
Cut to the dough into several pieces and on a floured surface, roll out each piece into the shape of a cigar. Using a knife, cut each cigar into pieces every ¾-1 inch.
To shape the gnocchi, dip a fork in flour and press the tines into the top of each dumpling. Using a gradually decreasing pressure, gently roll the gnocchi toward you until the gnocchi has rolled off the fork. Dust with flour and repeat until all gnocchi are formed.
If freezing, place in single layer on baking sheet and place in freezer for about 2-3 hours. Remove and store in plastic bags until ready to cook.
If serving immediately, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and drop the gnocchi in about 10 at a time, being careful not to overcrowd. The gnocchi will rise to the top when cooked (takes about 2-3 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and repeat with remaining gnocchi.
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Serve hot with whatever amazing sauce you decide (brown butter & sage, arrabiata, pesto, marinara, tomato cream, alfredo, marsala wine).