Everything about food, from matching food and wine to recipes, techniques and trends.

On making Gnocchi

Moderators: Jenise, Robin Garr, David M. Bueker

User avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

32669

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

On making Gnocchi

by Jenise » Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:49 am

I made a terrific gnocchi dish the other night that combined purreed carrots with the potato ingredient and produced a bright coral pink color dumpling. It had been years since I'd made gnocchi and I'd long been itching to change that, and the magazine photo (Food & Wine) was compellingly pretty.

So I made 'em, and they were yummy. But I made them by what I think is the conventional method for maximum fluffy lightness: rice the potato HOT, as hot, I remember the admonition, as you can possibly manage to hold the potato and remove the pulp. But this particular recipe itself was silent on temp, and nothing in it's description would have caused you not to have let the potatoes cool off before slicing them in half to scoop out the flesh. You would presume that potato temp made no difference at all. I was reminded of watching Ann Burrell's show once when she made gnocchi and claimed that in fact cold potatoes were better.

Of course, what I should do is make another batch with cold potatoes and test the diff while the sensations of the hot method are still in my mouth. But in the meantime, any opinions?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

Jeff Grossman

Rank

That 'pumpkin' guy

Posts

4111

Joined

Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:56 am

Location

NYC

Re: On making Gnocchi

by Jeff Grossman » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:31 pm

Mmm, tasty gnocchi!

(That's a 'no', I've never made them.)
User avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

32669

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: On making Gnocchi

by Jenise » Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:55 pm

Okay, so I decided instead of just asking you guys your opinion, I'd see what's out in the interwebs among the professionals re temperature. And I found: it's all over the damned place!!!

The recipe I used, though not presented this way, amounted proportionally to 1/2 c flour and 2 whole eggs for two pounds of potatoes. By comparison, Tyler Florence stressed hot potatoes but would use only one egg white, plus he'd add a half teaspoon of baking powder. Martha Stewart was adamnant about one continuous process through cooking (I cooked some of mine fresh to test their pillowyness, then froze all the rest even though I was cooking them just a few hours later, idea being that they'd be easier to handle in the quantity I was making) and found no difference in texture between fresh and frozen.)

Bruce Aidells says hot potato but cool after ricing, and uses the other half the egg Tyler didn't--yolk only, just one. Chef Roberto Donna of Al Dente in Washington D.C. (and whom I had the pleasure of being yelled at when I did course work with him at the CIA Napa) also favors yolks, but uses two for the same amount of potato (nearly all recipes called for two pounds, except those that called instead for a certain number of potatoes, which ranged from 3 to 4).

Most everybody uses starchy Idaho potatoes, but Chef Marjory Meek-Bradley of I can't remember where uses a mix of waxy red bliss and sweeter Yukon Golds. Plus, she adds grappa just like her mama. Says it makes the dough more cohesive and the gnocchi lighter.

So methods are all over the place, as are ingredients. What's obvious is that the age of your potato (older is better) is going to determine how much flour is actually needed, and only practice will give you that unerring sense of what's 'just right'. It's more about feel than it is exact measurements. "Embrace uncertainty," said one chef I read.

But if there's one chef out there who seems to have the most perfect gnocchi, if there's an industry bench mark, it would appear to be Marco Canora's. In my foray I saw many mentions of it, including from other chefs like Tom Collicchio for whom Marco worked once upon a time. Very different from most recipes. For one, about 50/50 flour:potato. And procedurally, several things stand out. Like Bruce Aidells he rices the potato and then leaves it to cool but explains why: to let most of the steam (moisture) evaporate (should have seen that coming). And then he cuts the flour into the riced potato with a bench scraper. He also suggests how much flour should end up in the dough all told, including generous amounts during the kneading stage. Would have been helpful to know the other day in what I made--I was rather scared of using too much bench flour.

Oh shucks. I copied it to include in this post, but it doesn't Ctrl+V out. I'll grab it from somewhere else and add. But anyway, that's my next project. I want to get a fix on proportions in my head so I can whip up a batch and improvise without looking up recipes.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

32669

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: On making Gnocchi

by Jenise » Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:00 pm

The Marco Canora recipe:

INGREDIENTS
• 3 large russet (Idaho) potatoes, scrubbed
• Freshly ground white pepper
• 1 egg yolk
• About 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
• About 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
• 1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• About 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

DIRECTIONS
• 1. Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Prick the potatoes with a fork and bake them until they are soft, about 1 1/2 hours.
• 2. While they’re still hot, cut all of the potatoes in half lengthwise—you want to create as much surface area as possible so the steam billows out. (Steam is water; the less water the potatoes contain, the less flour you will need. The less flour, the lighter your gnocchi.)
• 3. Scoop the potatoes out of the skins and into a fine-holed ricer. Pass them through the ricer onto a large clean work surface—use your countertop or kitchen table. Using the end of a large metal kitchen spoon, spread the potatoes into an even rectangle about 24-by-12-inches. Season the potatoes generously with white pepper. When they are no longer hot to the touch, almost room temperature, beat the egg yolk.
• 4. Drizzle the yolk over the potatoes. Measure 1 1/4 cups flour and sprinkle this over the potatoes.
• 5. Using a pastry scraper, cut the flour and egg into the potatoes, chopping and then turning the mixture in on itself and folding it together, until everything is well mixed and the dough resembles coarse crumbs. Bring the mixture together into a ball.
• 6. Sprinkle a scant 1/4 cup flour on the work surface. Place the dough on the flour and press down, flattening it into a disk with both hands. Dust the dough with another scant 3/4 cup flour. Using your hands, fold and press the dough until the flour is incorporated. Add two dustings of flour to the work surface and dough and repeat. If the dough still feels tacky, repeat once more, this time covering both the table and the dough with no more than 2 tablespoons flour.
• 7. Roll the dough into a compact log. Dust the outside with flour, then allow the dough to rest for about 5 minutes. Dust the work surface lightly with flour. Divide the log into 8 pieces. Roll each section into a cylinder about 1/2 inch thick. Using a floured knife or pastry cutter, cut the dough into gnocchi about 1-inch long.
• 8. Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Working in two or three batches, drop the gnocchi into the water and cook, stirring occasionally, until they float, 2 to 3 minutes. Retrieve the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and put them on a baking sheet or plate.
• 9. While the gnocchi cook, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sage and season with salt and black pepper. Allow the butter to brown slightly, about 4 minutes. Add the gnocchi to the browned butter and remove the pan from the heat. Mix gently and serve topped with Parmigiano.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
no avatar
User

Barb Downunder

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

660

Joined

Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:31 am

Re: On making Gnocchi

by Barb Downunder » Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:13 am

Interesting stuff Jenise. I’ve always used the hot potato and never use egg. Just spuds and flour, kneaded lightly to ‘the right consistency ‘. (Which means cook a tester to check’).
User avatar
User

Jeff Grossman

Rank

That 'pumpkin' guy

Posts

4111

Joined

Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:56 am

Location

NYC

Re: On making Gnocchi

by Jeff Grossman » Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:16 pm

I've only ever watched gnocci being made. It's miraculous! You have a bowl full of sticky goo, then you scrape a bit onto a fork, roll it just so against the cutting board and presto! Gnocchus. (That's the singular, right?)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign