Potato gnocchi was my first… meal I made from scratch! So let’s open this food blog with it!
This is the recipe for the potato base gnocchi, which can be served with ragù, tomato sauce or simply melted butter and sage. Your choice! The important thing to keep in mind is to choose floury potatoes (e.g. Kind Edward variety in the UK), as this texture is crucial to achieving the final result.
Preparing gnocchi takes some time and, therefore, I normally do so during the weekend. And every time, my husband says: “But it is not Thursday!”. In fact, in Rome and generally in Lazio region, they use to say Giovedì gnocchi (Thursday gnocchi) because they are (or were) traditionally prepared on Thursdays. Why? Thursday is already in the second half of the week, it is almost the weekend, and therefore it is allowed to treat oneself with a more elaborated, almost festive meal, such as gnocchi!
Gnocchi (potato base)
Wash the potatoes, put them in a big saucepan with water and bring to boil. Cook the potatoes for about 30 minutes or until tender (you can test this by poking the potato with a fork). Drain and leave to cool down for a moment. Then remove the skins while the potatoes are still hot (but be careful not to burn your hands).
Mash the potato, preferably with a potato ricer, on a clean large board or table. Add the butter while the potatoes are still warm: it will melt with the warmth of the potatoes. Season well with salt and grated nutmeg (to taste) and knead quickly with your hands until you have a smooth dough.
Shape the dough into a wide, thick rectangle and pour the flour on top of the dough. Here I use the so-called “fountain method”: I create a well in the middle of the flour and then add the egg. Start mixing the egg and the flour with a fork, carefully. Then using your hands, knead all the ingredients until you obtain a smooth dough. Add flour if necessary.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece until you get a sausage of 2cm wide. Using a knife cut the dough sausages into pieces. Shape the gnocchi by rolling each piece of dough on a cheese grater or a fork. Once ready, sprinkle flour over the gnocchi and cover with a tea towel.
Cook the gnocchi in a large pot of salted boiling water. You will know when they are ready when they float in the water. Gently remove them with a slotted spoon, drain very well. Serve them with ragù sauce, tomato sauce or melted butter with sage. Garnish with some grated Parmigiano cheese.