I know the sound of handmade gnocchi sounds tediously daunting, but these moorish morsels are totally worth your while! I won’t lie, it does take a little bit of preparation but in a way it’s a bit therapeutic as you cut and shape each delicate piece. The first time I tried to make them my husband laughed so hard as they totally fell apart when I put them into the boiling water – I was left with a big pot of watery mashed potatoes! Not fun! They’re meant to be light and fluffy…but those were a bit too fluffy.
I was speaking to my mom the other day about how I was doing this post on handmade gnocchi, remembering the time she taught me how to make them several years ago when I was waiting for baby #2 to make an appearance (nothing like a bit distraction to pass those long moments waiting for labor!) Anyways she told me that when she was young she would religiously make gnocchi every Thursday with her grandma, the excitement of counting how many pieces they had just made was always the fun part. Of course the Italians are known for their love of food so this is a usual practice in many households.I find it very interesting how not too long ago memories were made doing simple things like cooking in the kitchen with grandma. I’m wondering if this is becoming a lost art with all of today’s modern-day conveniences? Are we still taking the time to pass on the traditions of our ancestors or at least form a new solid tradition? Or are we focusing on plastic toys and entertainment and visual stimulation, forgetting the simple things in life?
Every time I go back to Italy for Christmas I enjoy it so much as the whole family, grandparents, uncles, cousins, get together and put out a spread of tasty food! Of course the company is the most important part but it’s great to see cultures and traditions still kept alive. This is something I hope to continue to pass on to my children and their children.
Why Make Gnocchi?
- It’s tastier then most store-bought kinds.
- A fun weekend project to include the family in for Sunday lunch.
- Plays a part in Mindful Eating (more on this subject in a future blog).
- A healthy way to eat potatoes! (Even more so when its sweet potato)
- Making your gnocchi by hand can still can fit into a quick 15 minute meal if prepared and frozen in advance to use when ready.
Makes 4 Servings
For the Gnocchi
- 1 kg (2.2 lb)sweet potatoes (I used 2 big ones)
- 260 grams (1 1/3 cups)of flour
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
For the Sauce
- 20 dried porcini mushrooms
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 60 grams (1/4 cup) butter
- 1/2 cup grated parmeggiano
Method & Tips
Before I start here are a few tips & tricks to keep in mind.
- Don’t over cook the potatoes as they’ll get water-logged and you may end up with the pot of watery mashed potatoes like I did!
- Keep the flour down to a minimum. Just enough to help it stick together but not to the other pieces of gnocchi.
- Gnocchi should be light and fluffy as much as possible so the secret is dry (not waterlogged) potatoes and as little flour as possible.
- Don’t work the dough too much as this will make them heavy.
- You can prepare the gnocchi ahead of time by freezing it first. Just make sure you lay them out separately on a tray and freeze first, once frozen you can put then together in a bag (Cook from frozen – remember this will bring the temperature of the boiling water down so leave a lid on it so it can come to a boil again quickly).
- Fresh gnocchi doesn’t store well in the fridge as it will get soggy. It will need to be parboiled first.
To Make the Gnocchi
- Start by boiling the sweet potatoes keeping them whole and with the peel on this way they keep flavor and don’t get water-logged. Boil them long enough to be able to put a fork through.
Drain and peel while still hot and grate your potatoes into a bowl creating as much air as possible.
Mix the potatoes gently into your flour/nutmeg/and salt mix and from a soft pastry ball. Remember the secret with gnocchi is to have as little flour as possible this way they’re light and fluffy.
Roll thin threads of the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut them into little cubes and roll onto a fork. This is optional, but it does allow the gnocchi to soak up the juices a bit more.
Put a big pot of water on to boil and add a bit of salt. Once the water starts to boil add your gnocchi one by one. Your gnocchi is ready when it floats to the top.
To Make the Sauce
- Soak your porcini mushrooms in the water and milk for at least 20 minutes.
Melt the butter in a pan, add the garlic and sage and saute for about a minute or two.
Add the soaked porcini mushrooms along with the milk and water you soaked it in into the pan with the butter and cook on a low flame for another 2-3 minutes.
Add your cooked gnocchi to the sauce, add the parmeggiano into the pan and let all the flavors cook together for another minute.
All that’s left to do now is serve and enjoy! Doesn’t it taste so much better knowing that you made it yourself? I know it did for me.