Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Potato Gnocchi

Adoring the wonderful shapes, sizes, and colours of our potatoes. Almost too pretty to eat, almost.
 One little duck went out one day.....
They were so fresh the skins just rubbed off some of them.
 Boiling 3kg up for potato gnocchi.  The problem with using different varieties in one pot is they all take different cooking times and some were harder to mash than others.
 Lovely to have my mum to cook with, to offer advice, and to takes photos for me.

The recipe instructions called for a rather large sized gnocchi, in retrospect, a bit too big, as I think they were tastiest near the edges. I have cut the left over ones in half and frozen them for later. Easy to cook, a quick drop in some boiling water and retrieved as soon as they floated. They were quite tasty, and light, but not overwhelmingly good, so I haven't posted the recipe.  Not a keeper, as a little like mashed potato balls.  At least the fussy middle one was happy and is requesting them again. Can anyone recommend a good gnocchi recipe?
Cooking the heirloom tomatoes for another batch of sauce, this one to have with gnocchi.  The addition of green tomatoes does give the sauce a slightly strange colour. I hate to say it but I am a little bored with the tomato glut, still whittling them away, every time I turn around one is changing into a revolting sloppy mess on the bench or making nasty stains on my baskets. Happy to announce that we have only one zuchinni left, happy to go without the green critters for a few months, although we do have some grated and frozen for later if the urge arises.

I was too busy feeding everyone, and enjoying a glass of wine, to remember to take  the final photo.

For some great ideas of how to cook potatoes, and some interesting facts about potatoes, visit - Earth Apple Jane's blog. She even makes potato jewellery!


  1. I learned to make gnocchi from my Italian grandmother, who learned it from her mother... They were from central Italy (Forli del Sannio) so there may be regional differences in recipes.

    Gnocchi was our "meal of choice" for all big family gatherings. Unfortunately, Grandma never measured anything - and I only know how to do it "by feel". But here's the basic recipe.

    Boil one large skinned potato per person. Allow potatoes to cool and put them through a potato ricer. Add one large egg (maybe 2 if you're making a really big batch) and mix thoroughly.

    Add about 2-3 cups of flower (just plain all purpose white flour) and kneed, and kneed and kneed! Keep adding flour until the dough is not at all sticky and is very (I mean VERY) firm. You pretty much want to add as much flour as you can get it to take.

    I have had gnocchi at restaurants that was much softer and mushier than Grandma's, with much more of a mashed potato feel - and I didn't like it much - clearly it was made with much less flour. I think it's sort of a matter of taste, but if you use too little flour your gnocchi will fall apart in the water.

    Roll the dough into snakes about 1/2 inch in diameter and cut pieces that are about 1/2 inch long. It's important to try to make them all the same size so they will all be done at the same time.

    Then (and this is the key for getting them to cook evenly) roll them up the back of a fork or a gnocchi paddle (gnocchi paddle works MUCH better). This step is sort of hard to explain if you haven't seen it. You coat the paddle with flour, hold it at an angle put the piece at the bottom, then press with your fingers while pulling it upwards. What you end up with is a piece that's sort of been flattened and curled back on itself.

    I actually looked online to see if I could find a YouTube video or something, and they all show people rolling down the paddle with their thumb... but Grandma always rolled up and used her first 2 fingers.

    Anyhow, then you need to lay them out on a dish towel or something, nicely separated, and let them dry for a few hours.

    Boil them in copious amounts of salted water. Don't put too many in the pot at once as they'll stick together and you'll end up with a real mess!

    Generally they're done when they float, or when they look uniform as you cut through them. Boiling time will vary greatly depending on how big your gnocchi ended up, and your altitude. Here in Denver it usually takes at least 20 minutes - but in Leadville where Grandma grew up it took much longer.

    We always served with a thick, traditional tomato sauce. It's makin' me hungry just thinking about it!

    Anyhow, that's our family recipe! Let me know if it works out for you!


    1. That would have to be one of the most generous comments I have ever received! Thank you so much! A proper Italian recipe no less, I like the ones I've had in Italian restaurants the best so I think this will be a winner,

  2. I've just been reading Cat's reply and now I know why I have always had more success with pumpkin gnocchi and the chard and ricotta ones I posted last week. I haven't been making the potato ones properly - I haven't used nearly enough flour. I do like both pumpkin & chard & ricotta gnocchi - both are more like light dumplings than mashed anything.

    1. I've made a ricotta gnocchi before and it was very good, never tried pumpkin before though, they would look so pretty. I'll have to give your recipes a go, love a good gnocchi.

  3. Thanks so much for that little plug Kirsty, and for this wonderful potato gnocchi post. Fantastic photos and detail, and pity it wasn't quite what you'd hoped but hey, that means you can have fun trying it another time in another way! On the other hand, why not just take time out to relax and enjoy another glass of wine:) Cheers Jane

    1. Loved reading your quirky potato blog Jane, yes I think another glass of wine might be just the ticket.

  4. Love your new banner pic. Were those potatoes from your 'no dig' potato bed? We use a potato ricer to get a smooth mash and we love Neil Perry's gnocchi recipe http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/543/potato-gnocchi-with-tomato-sauce Your tomatoes look so good!

  5. Thanks so much kimbamel, that camera certainly gets a good workout, I've gone back to the old lens as the other one was playing up for some reason. I've just checked out potato ricers on eBay, they look like a handy kitchen gadget. I'll have to give you some tomatoes before the season finishes!


In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
Margaret Atwood

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
"Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young