The pitfalls of potatoes: Gnocci endeavors

Food is pretty much my first line of communication. If I am sorry, excited, grateful, expect some really fancy brownies. If I want to make a good impression, maybe some vanilla bean sables or my favorite dark chocolate korova cookies form Dorie Greenspan. And if I love you, you can expect me to spend hours in the kitchen makig treats to satisfy your wildest (culinary)dreams. Like I do for my mom and her endless request for health-ified comfort food like bananacado brownies. And like I do for my sweet, sweet boyfriend, who should marry me any day now I only get to cook for once a month.
So, when he developed a palate for gnocchi I knew I was going to start experimenting. I scoured the internet for gnocchi recipies and techniques, looking for something to indicate that even simple folks can make this delicious dish. Each recipie, though basically the same, embodied different techniques and opinions about potatoes. I started with this awesome picture slideshow from serious eats and got some ideas from the smitten kitchen as well. I was inspired by this goat cheese and chive gnocchi recipe from the kitchn. And, I was pleasantly surprised by my virtual journey to sicily courtesey of Laura Vitale. (I used to spend summer months vacationing in Sicily, and although at the time I had no cooking aptitude, I was a great eater and devoured lots of great-grandma tested recipies. I learned trust. So I was excited to be taught by an authentic italian grandma.)
In the end, I went with a recipie from the kitchn.
Two things about me. I am prety lazy. Like if I have one kind of potato and not the other I will make due. Or if I only have milk and not buttermilk, or sour craam and not creme fraiche, or, well you get the picture… Another thing, I dislike following directions, er, sometimes.
So when the directions said to boil russet potatoes, I baked two pounds of new potatoes instead.

'taters on a salt bed

‘taters on a salt bed

I suppose this is why my potatoes stayed a little lumpy… anyhow, I proceeded to grate the potatoes and add the egg, salt, and (here’s where it gets sticky) only half of the alloted amount of flour, about one third cup.
taters n egg

taters n egg

a good pinch of salt

a good pinch of salt

Then you gotta knead the dough…
Then roll, cut, and shape. And this is where you can really see the advantages of following directions, which will leave you with a less lumpy product.

Indeed, they are lump-licious.
I covered mine and threw them into the freezer for about an hour, and then transferred them into two ziploc bags. This morning, as soon as I got up, I started baking more potatoes and this time I did it right. No salt bath, and plenty of Russets.

Here’s the recipie (yes, directions people)

slightly adapted from The Kitchn
2 pounds potatoes, combination of Russet and Yukon Gold
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup flour
generous pinch of salt

1. Wash potatoes well and throw them into a pot of cold water. Cover and boil until soft. Remove potatoes, wait patiently until they are warm to touch, and then remove the skins.
2. Grate those potatoes (or if you have one, use a food mill or ricer).
3. Add lighlt beaten egg and a generous pinch of salt to mound of grated potato. Add about half flour. Mix with hands until ball starts to form, then add remaining flour.
4. Knead until dough is soft but a little sticky. The first time I made this I barely kneaded the dough, which made delicious gnocchi, but as the pictures prove not the prettiest pasta. So, if the dough is too stick, add a few teaspoons of flour and continue kneading. About 3 minutes.
5. Divide dough in four. Roll each quarter into a rope about 3/4 inch in diameter. Cut the roppes into 3/4 inch pieces.
6. I used the back of a fork to add ridges to the gnocchi. This is optional and does not affect taste.
7. Arrange gnocchi on sheet pan in a single layer. Freeze gnocchi or proceed to cook in salted, boiling water until they float to the top. Sauce and serve.


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