I recently went to Malcesine for a week. I’d always wanted to go to Lake Garda and I had heard wonderful things about the food and whilst I was there I fell in love with Gnocchi. I’d had gnocchi before, but the gnocchi I had at a small restaurant called Joys place was special. It was made with tomato sauce and topped with scamorza cheese and I had it multiple times.
When I got home I decided that I’d try my hand at making my own gnocchi – potato ‘pillow’ dumplings, how hard could it be? I soon discovered – harder than it looks.
For my first attempt at making Gnocchi I watched a video by Gennaro Contaldo who always makes me smile. I followed his recipe carefully, but I didn’t care for the texture of the gnocchi. The gnocchi I had in Malcesine was light, fluffy and melted in your mouth. Mine didn’t taste heavy, but they felt a gluey consistency. From some googling I think I had over boiled the potatoes. To make great gnocchi you need dry potatoes so after consolidating lots of hints and tips from recipes and blogs I knew what I needed to do for my second attempt of making gnocchi.
Tips on making gnocchi
- Use the right type of potatoes – I used Désirée potatoes
- Use pasta 00 flour
- Steam or bake the potatoes whole until soft – about 40mins. This helps the potatoes from absorbing too much water
- Once soft, cut the potatoes open and allow to steam dry a bit
- Peel the potatoes whilst they’re warm
- Whilst the potatoes are warm use a ricer to mash the potatoes (don’t use a blender)
- Spread the photos/mash in one layer, to allow dry out a bit more. If you rice the potatoes directly into a bowl this will trap in steam
- When making the dough you don’t want to overwork the gluten so mix the egg yolk into the potato first, then fold in the flour, being careful not to overwork it.
- Once you’ve made your gnocchi, bring the water to a soft boil to cook them – when they float to the top leave them to cook for a further 30 seconds
- Optional step- you can pan fry the gnocchi in a bit of butter and olive oil to help them expand a little and crisp up on the outside before adding sauce
- 130g 00 pasta flour
- 2 egg yolks
- 1kg potatoes
- For the sauce Passata
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Scamorza cheese
Scamorza cheese is an Italian cheese made from cows milk with a nutty, smoky flavour. Parmesan or mozzarella would also work well with this recipe.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
- Bake the potatoes for 40-50mins directly on the oven shelf
- Once soft, remove the potatoes and cut in half to allow the steam to escape
- Using a tea towel, scoop the photo flesh from their skins and use a ricer to mash the potatoes
- Do this over one layer to allow the remaining steam to escape
- Once all of the potato has been mashed/riced egg the two egg yolks and mix together
- Add the flour and fold into the potato – be careful not to overwork the dough at this stage or you’ll end up with tough gnocchi
- Once all of the potato, flour and egg have come together cut off portions of the dough, (about the size of a tennis ball) lightly flour the work surface, and use your hands to roll out the dough into a long tube
- Use a knife to cut off small gnocchi portions
- Optional step - using a wooden gnocchi board or fork you can make ridges on the gnocchi which helps the sauce to sick to it Bring a large pan of water to a soft boil and cook the gnocchi until they float to the top – cook for a further 20-30 seconds and then drain
- I like to pan fry the cooked gnocchi in a little butter and olive oil before adding the sauce
- To make the sauce chop and fry the garlic in a little oil before adding the passata. Spoon the sauce over the cooked gnocchi and top with a handful of grated scamorza.
- You can freeze gnocchi too – before you cook the gnocchi, lie them on a baking sheet and freeze for a few hours before storing in a tupperware or food bag.