The two times I have made gnocchi it was ghastly. I'm ready to try again. Please send your tips & hints!
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It might help if you told us WHY it was ghastly. What were you expecting, and what did you get? Did they fall apart? Did they just taste bad? Were they tough? Are you making a potato-based or ricotta-based recipe? One tip I can offer right away is to use the bare minimum amount of flour necessary to get them to hold together - more flour will make them leaden and dense.
I made one potato batch & the ricotta recipe from this site. They were both gummy.
I like to sauté them after boiling...lightly brown in butter, add fresh sage and truffle sauce ( or mushrooms)
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Ricotta might be fine as accompaniment to gnocchi but it really doesn't belong in the gnocchi. And I know some people might argue that. Unless you truly know what you are doing you risk total "blow out, flat tire" gnocchi. The basic technique calls for nothing more than flour, potato and egg. Plus some salt and pepper and maybe some grated nutmeg.
I hope you keep trying because there is nothing like homemade potato gnocchi. Here are a few tips: To get the dough just right, add as little flour as needed to yield a soft, springy dough. While learning, it helps to test the dough as you go: pinch off a few gnocchi, boil and taste. If it isn't the right consistency, then add a little more flour until you get it right. Also, the potatoes are done when they pass the Frankies Spuntino "Crystal Method": break a potato open with your fingers and it should look like it's dotted with tiny crystals. Use a potato ricer to rice the potatoes while still warm. And keep the dough covered with a moist kitchen towel while you work, to keep it from drying out.
I took a class at King Arthur a few years ago to learn how to make gnocchi. One great tip they gave us was to bake the potatoes rather than boil them - makes for very light, fluffy potatoes with less moisture so they don't come out gummy. As said above, put the potatoes through a ricer, and add the flour gradually, just enough for the dough to come together. They had us mix and knead the dough with our hands, which lets you control the pressure so the dough stays light and doesn't get tough. I've made them several few times using their method and they always come out beautiful and light.
Sarah is a trusted source on General Cooking.
Another tip is to rice the hot potatoes over a wide surface area (like your kitchen bench) - this keeps the potatoes dry as you're forming the dough instead of steaming. Use a pastry scraper to bring the dough together so you're not overworking - almost like making a pie crust.
As others have said, minimal flour and a light touch are important.