Tuesday was the last day before I had to send off The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Italian Cooking, and honestly, between my schedule and my husband’s, there’s been no time to cook anything. Well, no time to cook for an audience I should say. I had a root canal today, but I really wanted to cook something from the book before I mail it off. I figured gnocchi was the most sore mouth-friendly thing in the book – besides soup – how boring is that? – so gnocchi it was . I’m surprised how easy it was to make! All it took was potatoes, flour, an egg, and some nutmeg. That’s it.
I started off by boiling 2 lbs – about 5 – waxy potatoes. I’m guessing that’s any potato that’s not a baking one. Cook in salted water for about 15 minutes, till they are tender, but the skin’s not coming off.
Then – and here’s the part I don’t like – peel the HOT potatoes. Not very finger friendly, if you ask me. I would recommend peeling the potatoes before boiling, and save yourself some skin.
On a clean surface, spread out 1 – 1 1/2 cups of flour. Using a food mill (I recommend and love my Rosle mill!), process the potatoes over the flour. You’ll need a pretty big area for this – I used my largest cutting board (2′ x 2′) and I was still running over the edges.
With the potatoes milled, add another 1/2 cup flour to the top of the mixture. Make a well and add one egg and a pinch of nutmeg. Begin working the mixture together by hand. The mixture will eventually become less sticky and more cohesive. Make sure to pick up all the flour, but don’t overknead or the dough will render tough gnocchi. Think leather. Yuck.
Once the dough is completely combined, divide it into 4 equal parts. On a floured surface, roll each part into a long tube shape, about 3/4″ in diameter. Then, slice the dough into 3/4″ pieces.
Boil the gnocchi in salted water until they rise to the top, about 3 or 4 minutes. The great thing about gnocchi is the simplicity, from start to finish. When your pasta’s done, drain it, and top with parsley, Parmesan cheese, and a couple pats of butter. That’s it. Done.