Saturday afternoon, not much going on, hanging out at the house watching movies and surfing the web and it hits me – tonight would be a great night for gnocchi.
When I was studying in Italy, I had some of the best gnocchi ever, specific meals that I still remember years later. I’ve had it at restaurants and I’ve bought packaged gnocchi that is super quick to make at home. BUT, until yesterday, I had never made it myself, from scratch.
So, I looked up some recipes online and set to work. Turns out, just about every potato gnocchi recipe on the web is the same, but I liked this one because of the spinach (definitely a blog worth reading, too).
Let’s start with the positives – it was delicious, it was fun, it was filling. I had a great time making the gnocchi. I used every space in my kitchen and then some.
The downside? It took forever. I wasn’t exactly rushing through it, but the meal clocked in at just under 3 hours from start to delicious finish – it was like the Super Bowl of healthy/lazy cooking. Oh, and I somehow managed to dust the kitchen, the dining room and my entire body in a fine layer of flour. Perhaps careful cooking could avoid the flour problem, but it’s in my nature to be a little sloppy in the kitchen.Also it turned out I was out of cheese, so I had to make due grating a mozzarella stick (don’t judge me) over my homemade gnocchi. Somewhere the culinary gods are weeping.
Without further ado, the recipe (or just watch the slideshow and guess):Vodpod videos no longer available.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 4-5 medium Russet potatoes
- 1 big handful of spinach (maybe 5-6 oz?)
- 1 1/2 cup of flour
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 egg
- Sauce of your choice
- One large pot
- Plenty of counter space
- Several hours
- A mop/dog
Here’s what to do:
Step 1) Scrub the potatoes, put them in the pot, and bring to a boil for 30-40 minutes (or until you can easily stick a fork through them)
Step 2) While the potatoes are doing their thing, get your spinach ready. Remove any long, pokey stems, and bring a shallow pot of water to a boil. I used a deep pan and it worked just fine. When the water reaches a boil, drop in your spinach for about 30 seconds, moving it slowly.
Step 3) When the thirty seconds is up, remove the spinach and toss in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
Step 4) Squeeze as much moisture as possible out of your spinach. Put in a food processor (I used my handy Magic Bullet) until pureed. If you’ve made good time, you can probably wash all those dishes and get them out of the way before it’s time to yank the potatoes.
Step 5) When the potatoes are done, remove them from the water but don’t dump the water out (you’ll need it later). When you feel comfortable handling the hot potatoes, peel them.
Step 6) If you have a ricer, push the potatoes through and go read a book. If you don’t (ahem, me), you’ll need to make do with a fork. It you slowly scrape the side of the fork down the potatoes, you’ll see they crumble into a light, fluffy pile. You don’t want to mash the potatoes, you want to lightly crumble them – this is important.
Step 7) When all the potatoes are crumbled, pour yourself a glass of wine.
Step 8 ) Slowly knead a cup of flour, one lightly beaten egg, and a tsp of salt. Work in more flour as needed (pun intended). I used about 1 1/2 cups total. A little stickiness is good, but it needs to be roll-able without sticking to your hands and the table.
Step 9) When your dough is formed, roll it into finger-thick ropes on a floured surface. Using the side of the fork, cut the ropes into 3/4 inch segments and set aside.
Step 10) Now that you, the floor, the counter, and the walls are covered in flour, it’s time to boil the gnocchi. Return the pot of potato water to a boil. Drop in 20 or so at a time, and let them boil until the rise. Remove them after floating for 30 seconds or so.
Step 11) Once all your gnocchi are out of the water, top with sauce and cheese and enjoy.
Step 12) Don’t go back in to the kitchen until tomorrow.