Gnocchi are those delectable little Italian dumplings made of a potato dough. True and traditional potato gnocchi have a characteristic dense rather chewy texture. Ones I have had in restaurants were often very light and fluffy. These are not a true gnocchi, they are more like the French quenelle, also a dumpling but with a completely different texture than that of the Italian gnocchi. In Italian homes it is traditionally the job of the children to form the little dumplings after Mama had made the dough.
1 large potato, boiled and peeled
1 large raw egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
Enough all-purpose flour to form a soft pliable dough
Boil the potato to the state of doneness required for making mashed potatoes. Peel and mash. If you have a potato ricer, so much the better. Allow to cool before adding the egg and oil. Mix well, and then begin adding enough flour to form a soft dough. Knead well. Don’t be afraid to add a bit of cold water if you should happen to get the dough a bit too stiff. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 15 minutes.
To form, divide the dough into 4 to 6 equal pieces and roll into snakes about ½ inch in diameter. Cut each snake into even chunks about 1 inch long. Place a small pile of flour on your work surface. Dust the tines of a table fork with flour and press your thumb into the flour. Using your thumb, gently press the little ball of dough onto the tines of the fork to form ridges in the dough. Then with a sort of rolling motion, roll the pit of dough off the fork. The result will be a little dumpling that is sort of shell shaped with ridges on one side. Continue until all are formed.
Place into boiling water and cook for 4 or 5 minutes or until they reach your desired degree of doneness. Drain and place in a serving dish and dress with desired sauce. Gnocchi are quite good simply dressed with olive oil, Parmesan and chopped fresh herbs.
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