Oh man, gnocchi. This is probably my kids favorite meal, and certainly one of the grown ups' as well. These tiny pillow like balls of of pasta are soft and chewy and perfect with any kind of sauce, or none at all. By far our favorite though, is what my daughter calls 'basil sauce,' or my home made pesto.
Apart from being expensive, I love making things myself. There's something immensely satisfying about creating a food from scratch with your own hands. I had always thought of gnocchi as kind of an exotic pasta (well, as exotic as pasta can be). Heck, most people I've talked to had never even heard of it! Therefor I also assumed that gnocchi was going to be complicated to make. I mean, you need a potato ricer (whatever that is...) right? Yikes.
The answer is no.
Gnocchi is one of the simplest things I've ever made from scratch, actually. And you don't need a stinkin' potato ricer either! (Seriously...does anything know what that actually is?) Today I'm going to show you step by step, complete with pictures, how to make this most delicious of pastas at home, using only three ingredients!
You will need:
4 large-ish potatoes
2.5 cups of all purpose flour
1 tsp salt *optional*
First, you'll need to prep and cook your potatoes. You can bake them if you'd like, but I found it much easier to boil them. Boil your potatoes until they just start getting soft. You do not want them to be falling apart! Drain your potatoes and let them sit and air dry for a few minutes.
Now you're ready to grate them. This is where most recipes call for a potato ricer (again...?). You don't need one! I used a cheese grater and it worked perfectly. Some recipes may call for mashing your potatoes, but I found this to be a bad idea, it mixes in too much air and moisture and makes for sticky, unmanageable dough. Cheese grater all the way.
Once your potatoes are cool enough, grate them into a large bowl using your cheese grater.
Add your flour on top of the potatoes, and make a little hole in your flour/potatoes and crack your eggs into it.
Using your fingers, begin to mix the ingredients together by pinching them gently.
Continue mixing with a gentle pinching motion, your dough will get crumblier and more solid.
Keep gently mixing until your dough incorporates like shown below. It may still be fairly crumbly, but will become a recognizable dough ball.
Now it's time to knead! Take your dough ball out of the bowl, and lay it on a lightly floured surface. Knead the same way you would bread dough, for about five minutes or until it becomes smoother and more elastic.
Your dough should now be fully incorporated and hardly crumbly at all.
Take out your dough and roll or press it flat and about 1/2 inch thick. Slice it into long, thin strips.
Continue slicing until your dough is all cut into thin strips, about an inch wide.
Set aside the rest of your cut strips of dough. One at a time you're going to lay a strip of dough on your floured surface and roll it until it's rounded (a play dough snake!).
Cut your 'snake' into pieces, about an inch long. These are going to be your gnocchi!
Place them on a floured baking sheet and gently press with a fork. This last step isn't needed if you don't want, but adds a decorative and "authentic" look to your gnocchi.
Now you have gnocchi!
Look how pretty they are...
Place gnocchi in a pot of boiling, salted water and let boil until they float to the top, about 2-4 minutes. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Toss with your favorite sauce, and serve! And if you have leftovers, you can arrange them on a baking sheet so they don't touch each other and freeze them. Once they're frozen you can put them into a ziploc bag and keep them in the freezer for up to a month.
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! Please let me know what you think, or if you have any questions at all in the comments below. Enjoy your gnocchi!