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Crunchboy

Perfecting Gnocchi

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Adian, are these potato gnocchi?

I don't mean to get off topic, but what is the definition of "gnocchi"? I've seen recipies entitles "gnocchi" that include neither flour nor potato.

Gnocchi is the plural of gnocco, which means "lump" -- so any food that is in lump form may be described as "gnocchi" (as in gnocchi di patata) or "gnocco" (as in gnocco fritto).

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gnocco, which means "lump" --

Gnoccho is also reflected in Austria's famous "Salzburger Nocken", which litterally translates to "cam".

[typo]


Edited by Boris_A (log)

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Another type of Gnocchi is 'al cucchiaio' where a bowl of soft gnocchi mixture ( we most often used spinach, nutmeg, cheese and flour) is held over a pot of boiling water and the Gnocchi are teaspooned into boiling salted water. Someone else retrieves the little darlin's as they rise to meet their makers.

Into a warm dish, and sauced with Piera's leftover from last night's Veal Sauce....sublime.

And, why the heck dont they taste just like that when I make them??!!! :sad::smile:

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Gnocchi is such a fussy and finicky food to begin with, I've never considered doing any part of it ahead of cooking and bringing the entire meal to the table.

I'd like to hear from anyone who has either 1) made the dough ahead of time then formed and cooked the gnocchi later or 2) formed the gnocchi ahead of time and cooked them later, with no drop-off in quality.

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Brad, because it's so labor intensive (relatively speaking), I do it in quantity, as with my ravioli, and freeze with no drop off that I can tell, esp. as I vacuum seal.

Paul

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The actual dough is pretty hardy. We've been successful making the dough ahead of time (24 hours), and then forming them and cooking. Absolutely fine.

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brad, paul, hathor,

would you be willing to share your recipes? i've only tried making gnocchi once and while it wasn't a disaster it wasn't an unqualified success either.

thanks,

mongo

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Mongo,

Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cookbook. Two deviations - I bake, not boil. And I pierce the skin to let moisture escape. If boiling, don't pierce.

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Mongo,

Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cookbook. Two deviations - I bake, not boil. And I pierce the skin to let moisture escape. If boiling, don't pierce.

i have that cookbook--i probably used the wrong kind of potatoes.

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You have to be careful about freezing them, because you could damage the cell walls, and release too much starch (See Jackal10's Potato Primer). What you can do is prepare them, cook them until they float, drain, and refresh in ice water, drain again, and drizzle with a little oil. You can hold these for a few hours. Then you can reheat just before serving (in the sauce, preferably).

For a recipe, you want approximately 150g flour to every 500g potato (cooked and squeezed through a ricer. When relatively cool, mix in an egg, a handfull of parmagiano, some salt. The dough should be just damp, but not sticky. Add flour to moderate. Roll into logs, about half an inch thick, and cut into sections. These you can roll off a fork for the traditional shape, or leave as is - or sauté in a non-stick pan for fantastic crispy gnocchi.

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For a recipe, you want approximately 150g flour to every 500g potato (cooked and squeezed through a ricer. When relatively cool, mix in an egg, a handfull of parmagiano, some salt. The dough should be just damp, but not sticky. Add flour to moderate. Roll into logs, about half an inch thick, and cut into sections. These you can roll off a fork for the traditional shape, or leave as is - or sauté in a non-stick pan for fantastic crispy gnocchi.

If sauteeing the gnocchi, do they need to be boiled first? I see this instruction for alot of books. I'm wondering if it's just intended as a prepare ahead method, though-- boiling them beforehand, then sauteeing later when you're ready to serve.

Also, I'm curious about the use of cake/pastry flour in gnocchi. Heard this was a good trick for really light gnocchi. In principle (lower gluten) it sounds like something worth exploring.

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I was worried about this, too. Had several anziety attacks. BUt I have come up with a method which allows me to make them en masse and freeze. I bake my spuds to reduce moisture, replace 1/3 of the flour with semolina for structure, form, freeze on a sheet pan, then put them into a ziplock.

Drop the frozen gnocchi into rapidly boiling water. Rapid is important. It keeps them from sticking to each other or to the bottom of the pot.

I made a variation last week which was really good. On a whim, I added 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. I then cooked them, drained them well, and dropped them into a skillet with browning butter. Spank my ass and call me Charlie, but they were really good eats. I wish I had made enough to freeze.

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I think there are two camps to the Gnocchi preference. I like them light and airy (think Hearth) while my insignificant other likes them thick, hearty and gummy because his mother made them that way. I'm not sure if the latter type of gnocchi will drop off in taste if you freeze them. But, I made a huge batch of the kind of gnocchi I like once and double sealed them in two ziplock bags. A week later I dropped some in a pot of boiling water and scooped them out the minute they start to float. There were no drop off in quality and came pretty close to the restaurant version that I like. The advice that I was given was that you scoop out the gnocchi the minute they start to float and you eat them while it's hot. They aren't so good even when they get cold on your plate.

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I made a big batch of mashed potatoes tonight and had a ton left over after dinner. Immediately, I'm thinking "What in hell am I gonna do with 2# of mashed potatoes?"

Gnocchi comes to mind. But I've never made gnocchi before. Can I used leftover mashed (butter & cream)?

Thanks in advance.

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Well, one can make gnocchi out of ricotta so why not?

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A cook can prepare gnocchi from various main ingredients:

The classic Roman version is Gnocchi alla Romana (baked semolina), basically enriched with butter, Parmesan, and eggs. The chilled polenta is cut into shapes, dotted with fat, sprinkled with cheese, and baked in a moderately hot oven. A quite similar dish is indigenous to the northern regions of Lombardy & Veneto, where polenta has been a traditional staple. Classically, the latter interpretation of these cornmeal dumplings may be served with a mushroom-&-prosciutto sauce.

Gnocchi maloreddus are made from Parmesan and topped with a tomato sauce.

Gnocchi di papate, the potato dumplings, are often shaped into small balls and served, at times, with a well-seasoned meat sauce, known as Ragù alla Romagnola; or Affumicato, smoked fish (such as sturgeon); or Pesce, tuna sauce.

A worthy first candidate for your pot of mashed taters is Gnochetti all Piemontese – a mouthwatering (and assuredly addictive recipe – combines the comforting potato gnocchi with the exquisite flavor of Fontina cheese:

2 lbs. potatoes, peeled & boiled well in salted water; best to push them through a ricer, whipping to keep them dry & fluffy;

Add about 2 cups sifted flour and a good pinch of salt to make a dough by working the mixture with the best tools in your kitchen, you own hands; roll up & shape into 1- by 1½-inch pieces logs (for sizing, I use the mental image of a walnut shell);

Press each shape against tines of a fork so that the back is ridged and the front has a hollow indentation, like a little shell. (The practical reason for this shaping, according to Claudia Rosen in her Good Food of Italy, is “so that they hold the dressing better.” – p. 92). Place them on a floured board, covering with a cloth; refrigerate the gnocchi if making them much in advance;

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and poach the gnocchi, a few at a time, for about 2 minutes.

Spoon a layer of gnocchi into a gratin dish, cover with thin slices of Fontina (imported, not Fontinella, please!), sprinkling with melted clarified butter (or duck fat?). Repeat layering until all ingredients are used, ending with cheese. Bake in moderate oven until cheese is melted. Serve pronto!


Edited by Redsugar (log)

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If you have the Times magazine from this past sunday, there is a basic gnocchi recipe there.

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I've never made gnocchi with leftover mashed potatoes. Have to think you'd have a very hard time keeping them appropriately light. Personally, I'd be more likely to save them for shepherd's pie or something like that.

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Yeah, I'd skip making gnocchi. You've already over-developed the gluten by mashing them to that extent and they would be gummy and never come together. You could make fritters out of them though by mixing in a couple eggs, cheese, maybe ham, coat them in bread crumbs, and fry them.

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i'd be really skeptical. the butter and cream would be the problem. gnocchi (potato gnocchi anyway) are made by developing hte gluten in the potato starch (the word gnocchi comes from teh same latin root as the word "knead"). any decent amount of fat would interfere with the development of said gluten.

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i'd be really skeptical. the butter and cream would be the problem. gnocchi (potato gnocchi anyway) are made by developing hte gluten in the potato starch (the word gnocchi comes from teh same latin root as the word "knead"). any decent amount of fat would interfere with the development of said gluten.

This is very odd. I've never heard that one wants to develop the gluten when making gnocchi. In fact, I have always proceeded with exactly the opposite assumption: that one should work the dough as little as possible in order to avoid developing the gluten.

I've also always heard that the word gnocco, which most sources seem to agree is of relatively recent, late 19th century provenance -- can probably be traced back to Middle High German, perhaps knöchel (knuckle), and comes most directly from the Italian (Veneziano dialect?) word nocchio meaning "a knot in wood."

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[This is very odd.  I've never heard that one wants to develop the gluten when making gnocchi.  In fact, I have always proceeded with exactly the opposite assumption: that one should work the dough as little as possible in order to avoid developing the gluten.

I've also always heard that the word gnocco, which most sources seem to agree is of relatively recent, late 19th century provenance -- can probably be traced back to Middle High German, perhaps knöchel (knuckle), and comes most directly from the Italian (Veneziano dialect?) word nocchio meaning "a knot in wood."

it's a matter of degree. if you overwork the dough, the gnocchi will be tough and heavy, certainly. but if you don't develop any gluten at all, what is to hold the gnoccho together? (oh sure, you could cheat and add egg ...)

and i don't have an oed in front of me, but i believe knead and knuckle both come from the same root.

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Yeah, I'd skip making gnocchi.  You've already over-developed the gluten by mashing them to that extent and they would be gummy and never come together.  You could make fritters out of them though by mixing in a couple eggs, cheese, maybe ham, coat them in bread crumbs, and fry them.

But potatoes don't have gluten. gluten is the protein found in cereal grains like wheat, barley and oats, among others. the reason why you get gummy potatoes if you overbeat them and break the cell walls, releasing starch that gums up the works. I think I read this in cooks illustrated. but if you properly mashed them, I would think this is not a problem but I could be wrong.

Heck, if you have leftover mashed, why not try it? It's cheap right?

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how about some potato pancakes?great accompaniment to many meals and lends itself well to a number of varied cooking styles.Just a thought\

Dave s

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But potatoes don't have gluten.  gluten is the protein found in cereal grains like wheat, barley and oats, among others.  the reason why you get gummy potatoes if you overbeat them and break the cell walls, releasing starch that gums up the works.  I think I read this in cooks illustrated.  but if you properly mashed them, I would think this is not a problem but I could be wrong. 

Heck, if you have leftover mashed, why not try it?  It's cheap right?

You've already processed them far past the point you need to for gnocchi. Plus you've incorporated I'd imagine some form of liquid into them, correct? So now you need to compensate for that, which means extra flour, which means leaden gnocchi.

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