Monday, February 23, 2015

Homemade gnocchi

Do you know what I spent my morning doing? 

I made homemade gnocchi! Please be at least a little impressed with me as it took a while... As if anyone needs extra work on a gloomy Monday morning.

But my little people were so happy. Would you like to know why? Because they were doing this.

It's true. While I was rolling gnocchi dough, they were rolling play dough, and having a fantastic time doing it. Why don't I think of genius plans like this more often? 

Anyway, I started with a basic recipe, but it all went straight down the crapper and I had to basically come up with my own plan. I'll give you the general idea if you're interested, and you can go from here.

I took 7 small-ish red potatoes, peeled them, and boiled them for 30 minutes. Why 7? Well, that was the number of potatoes I had left in my 5-pound bag. Honestly, there's no art to this.

After boiling, and while they were still piping hot, I mashed them with my potato masher. I then sprinkled large pinches of salt and pepper across the top, and then 2 cups of flour. I made a well in the middle and cracked one egg into it. Then I took a butter knife and cut the egg into the mixture and used the knife to really mix it up.

Okay, here's where things get sketchy. I added a few sprinkles of nutmeg (because I love to spice up potatoes with it), and another 1/2 cup of flour. I kneaded it a bit in the bowl, and then placed it on my super-floured counter top and kneaded it a lot more. The dough should end up smooth and NOT sticky. If it is sticky, it will turn into gross little mashed potato blobs when you boil it instead of gorgeous little potato dumplings (Personal experience - I had to chuck my entire first batch). I know for sure I added at least 1/2 cup more flour, if not a full cup. This is where I really had to play around with my ratios and make sure that blob of dough did NOT stick to my hands, my counter top, my little people when they came within a five-foot radius of me...

Once I got the dough to a good consistency, I took small sections of it and rolled them out into long ropes, about an inch wide. Then I cut said ropes into little rectangles (I pressed each with a fork because I like that look, but it's not necessary. Apparently I'm just a sucker for extra work.) and popped them into a pot of boiling water. I did one-rope batches at a time. Now is where I really had to concentrate and keep an eye on the gnocchi, because when they floated to the top, I set the timer for two minutes. 

After the two floating boiling minutes (Why don't I write recipes with all this technical lingo I've mastered?), I scooped the gnocchi out a few at a time with a slotted spoon and let them cool on a dishtowel-lined tray. Then it was on to the next batch... And the next... And the next... You get the point. As each batch cooled, I moved it to a wire cooling rack (I wouldn't put them straight onto a rack, though, because when they're still hot they want to melt right through it.). 

That's that. It was quite the long process, and my kitchen was such a disaster after I was done that I almost packed my little people up and ran away. But I'm hoping it will be well worth it when I make THIS recipe for crispy potato gnocchi with basil pesto. And I know, the recipe says to just use a store-bought package of gnocchi and make your pesto, but I'm doing it the exact opposite way. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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