Serve with my ragu. Recipe adapted slightly from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen (Knopf, 2001).
6 Tips for Gnocchi Making:
1. Baking the potatoes instead of boiling them makes for drier potatoes.
2. The less flour you use the lighter the gnocchi, but also the more potato tasting.
3. Rice the potatoes as soon as they leave the oven--rubber gloves prevent burning yourself.
4. Immediately spread the riced potatoes out in a thin layer so the steam escapes.
5. Once you form gnocchi, they must be cooked or frozen right away or they turn to mush.
6. To freeze gnocchi, place them on a sheet pan without touching. Once completely frozen, transfer them into a sealable plastic bag. —Jill Santopietro
- Serves 8
2 1/4 pounds
russet potatoes (about 4 large), unpeeled and washed
fine sea salt, plus more for seasoning pasta water
unbleached all-purpose flour
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Pierce the potatoes with a fork and bake in the oven until tender, about 1 hour. Immediately peel them and using a ricer, rice the potatoes over a baking sheet, quickly spreading the potatoes in a thin layer to release the steam. (This immediate steam removal is very important for creating light gnocchi.)
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat (if you plan on cooking immediately). Season with enough salt so that it tastes salty like the ocean.
- On a cool surface, gather the cooled riced potatoes into a loose mound. Make a well in the center. Using a fork, beat the eggs and pepper together in a small bowl until blended, then pour into the well. Beat 1 teaspoon of salt into the egg mixture and using a fork, pull some of the potatoes into the egg mixture, stirring to combine. Repeat until all of the potato has been incorporated and forms a wet dough.
- Add the flour gradually into the potato mixture until a firm, moist dough forms. (Flour the dough and your hands, and use a bench scraper to pull the dough together.) You do not need to add the full 3 cups—2 1/2 should do the job. (Also, don’t overwork the dough—the longer it’s worked, the more flour you’ll need to add and the heavier it will become.)
- Cut the dough into six equal portions. Using your fingers and palms, roll each piece of dough into 1/2-inch-thick rope. Cut it crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. (If you choose, you can make a line in the dough by rolling and pressing them against a fork.) Sprinkle the pieces with flour. Set the gnocchi on a floured baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. At this point the gnocchi must be cooked or frozen immediately. To freeze, place gnocchi on a sheet pan without them touching, and set in freezer until rock hard. Once frozen, transfer them to a sealable plastic bag and return to the freezer.