2.22.2012

Gnocchi

from Giorgio, Terre di Nano

We took a cooking class when we were in Tuscany in July 2009, at Terre di Nano, the agriturismo where we stayed. They make wine and olive oil there in addition to accommodating guests, but our cooking class focused on making potato gnocchi and tiramisu the traditional ways. I've made gnocchi a lot of times since the trip. It freezes beautifully and is a treasure to pull out of the freezer on a weeknight along with some cubes of frozen homemade pesto. We had it in Italy with tomato sauce and with pesto. I've also had it sauteed in butter and served other ways.





potatoes (approximately 1 medium per person)flour
salt
an egg if needed

Boil potatoes with peels until very soft. Remove from boiling water and cool slightly. Remove skin. It comes off in big patches when you just peel it back with your fingers. Remove any blemishes.

Mash potatoes thoroughly with a fork on countertop. Add a little salt. Begin kneading flour into the potatoes. With a scoop, generously sprinkle flour all the way around the pile of potato, then work it in bit by bit as you knead, then repeat. You have to work a lot of flour into the potato. He said you know you have enough when you can poke your finger into the ball of dough and it doesn't feel sticky on the inside. If it becomes too dry, you may need to knead in an egg (we didn't need to do this).

Cut a chunk off the mass of dough, roll it into a snake about 1/2-inch thick, and then cut the snake into small, squarish pieces.

With a fork in one hand, pick up each small piece with your other hand and with your thumb, push it down the tines of the fork. This creates the ribbed texture of the gnocchi. Collect gnocchi, not touching each other, on a lightly floured baking sheet.

Next, either cook it to serve or freeze it. To serve immediately: drop gnocchi into pot of boiling water and leave it just long enough for water to return to a boil and gnocchi to pop to the surface of the water and float-- only a couple of minutes. Skim them out individually or in groups as they float to the surface. Toss hot gnocchi with desired sauce and serve. OR, put baking sheet in freezer for a while until gnocchi pieces freeze individually, then dump them into a freezer bag or other container and freeze until ready to use. Once frozen they can be prepared as described above.

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