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Crunchboy

Perfecting Gnocchi

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I do this all the time with pate a choux gnocchi. I pipe them in rows on a baking sheet on parchment paper, then freeze until very firm. Cut them into desired length and freeze right away.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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The longest I've left them frozen, uncooked, is two weeks. I couldn't say if you could go longer, but I haven't noticed an big difference in texture in that time. I also tend to saute them in butter after poaching them so maybe that makes a difference. Do you have time to do a test run with a small batch?


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Freezing gnocchi is no problem. Just make sure you use a heavy-duty ziplock baggie so they don't pick up any flavors or freezer burn. I have pulled them from the freezer after three months with no change in texture.

Tips for when it's time to cook them:

1. Use a huge pot of well-salted water and make sure it is at a furious boil...the temperature of the water will drop dramatically when you add the frozen gnocchi.

2. Give them a quick but gentle stir once they hit the water, and get that water boiling again as fast as possible, even if it means holding a lid over the top until the boil returns. This will keep them from sticking to the bottom and to each other.

3. Then turn the heat down slightly so that the boil is not so vigorous so that as they soften they do not break. Let them boil one to two minutes after they float, so that the inside can cook properly, but taste one to be sure. Remove with a spider or strainer and add directly to your sauce.

Have fun.


Edited by Shaya (log)

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Whenever I make gnocchi I make large batches and "IQF" them as you have described (by laying them out on a baking sheet). They take slightly longer to cook than fresh ones do, but as far as I am concerned any loss in quality is very minimal if you keep them bagged well.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Marlene - what's your receipe for pate choux gnocchi...


Live and learn. Die and get food. That's the Southern way.

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Gonna make " Potato and Turnip Gnocchi "

Thinking of a 4/1 ratio of starch to flour by weight, one egg yolk, pinch of salt and nutmeg! I'm using two each- "Potato and Turnip" weighting ( sp ) will come after bake and peel

Thoughts /ideas?


Its good to have Morels

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Just very interested in results. Try and take some pictures please!


Sleep, bike, cook, feed, repeat...

Chef Facebook HQ Menlo Park, CA

My eGullet Foodblog

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7514892614_3d96ccafda_h.jpg

Scott,

I am really impressed so far but its a pain.

I roasted the russet potato and turnip in oven on salt , 2 med ea, 350 for about an hr or until the internal temp was 205/210 F. I should have started turnips earlier.

I got about 330g starch after peeling..Ouch they are hot. Turnips I had to grate and chop , so I grated the tators too.

I decided to go about 3/1 starch to flour 80ish grams AP flour

1 egg yolk mixed

Pinch of salt and nutmeg

Now I chopped/cut my flour in till about 3/4 of the 80 grams were in and then kneaded by hand. I didn't use all the flour and used the rest for bench>

Test run.. I'm boiling them in a ham stock and I made a short rib ragu to top. I hope to get a finished shot.. but with company--ITS NOT EASY!!

Turnips add a really nice sweetness


Edited by Paul Bacino (log)

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The Turnips!!

7514357580_a7038c261e_h.jpg


Its good to have Morels

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The Dough!!

7514907684_1da3b82cd1_b.jpg

Sorry doing this backwards!!


Its good to have Morels

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So here is the finished dish:

Turnip gnocchi poach in a ham stock/ Short Rib Ragu/ in a bed of beef sauce

7520022100_329d7a88ac_b.jpg

The Gnocchi were light a dissolve in your mouth, they could have been just a bit denser,( probably working the dough a bit more ) I don't mind a bit of toothy -ness---oh BTW I was off in my math, it was the 4/1 ratio ( Yikes )

330 g /80g Starch to flour--cut in and only a quick hand roll to come together..


Its good to have Morels

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My gnocchi basically breaks all the traditional rules, yet I'm pretty happy with the result. I boil potatoes in salted water, moulis them, and lay them out on a tray and refigerate, covered with a (very) breathable cloth. When cold I add them to a stand mixer with the flour, a few egg yolks and parmesan, and mix until just combined. They always come out nice and light.

My theory is that because the potatoes are cold, the starch is much harder to overwork. Plus, the added advantage is that because the dough is cold, they hold their shape much better.

Thoughts?


James.

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Whatever you do, do NOT deep fry gnocchi (the fun starts at the 1:20 mark)

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That was funny!! ( Well maybe not )

I'm sure they have a skin on them, which holds in the moisture in.. Till they BLOW.


Edited by Paul Bacino (log)

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Add potato, the experts insist; it must be baked not boiled, skinned not peeled, waxy yellow not white, riced with a ricer not mashed and no doubt is only perfect when baked, dancing naked around the kitchen, under a full moon. Like all nonsensical professional vanity, it’s just not a very good idea, dancing naked in a hot kitchen or adding potato to gnocchi. These same experts tell us to add squash, sweet potato, chopped bread, béchamel sauce, choux pastry, milk, spices, spinach, semolina and even truffles. They forget that adding potato and all this other stuff to gnocchi is a new innovation and not a very good one, because in my opinion, some recipes are best left alone. The Ancient Romans had the idea first. Weary soldiers, at the end of a long, cold, hard, day tromping about Europe and Asia, wanted something hot for dinner, something that would fill them up and stick to their ribs and they wanted it now. The legions cook, low on supplies and even lower on ideas, must have put a big pot of water on to boil, thrown in a handful of salt and wracked his brains. He had no meat, no vegetables, scant flour, certainly not enough for bread or pasta, a few scavenged eggs and some sour fermenting milk in goat skins that had churned itself to soft cheese during the days march. In his desperation he threw his three last ingredients together, dropped knobs of the resulting soft dough into his pot of water and presto, invented not pasta, not bread, not noodles, but the soft-hearted plump little darling dumplings we call gnocchi. This original gnocchi was made right up ’til the 1300’s before chef’s got hold of it. In a last gasp of common sense a Tuscan dialect cook urges us to “take some cheese and mash it, then take some flour … mix it with egg … place a pot of water over a fire …when it starts boiling … slide it in the pot with a spoon… when cooked …top them with a lot of grated cheese.” I think the Ancient Romans and Tuscans had the right idea of keeping their flavourings for the sauce, so my recipe, like their original one is still the softest, cheapest, easiest and the best.

If you want to try my recipe for the original gnocchi is on my food blog at TheCulinaryLibrary.com

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Gnocchi is one of my favorite Italian dishes and it's what I usually order and use it to judge how good a restaurant is. After seeing an America's Test Kitchen show where they made gnocchi I learned I could make a very good version at home. It was better than or equal to most restaurant versions, but not quite as good as the best I've had so I decided to start researching the keys to making great gnocchi. By the way for those that live in the San Francisco bay area the best gnocchi I have ever had are the black truffle gnocchi at Lillian's Italian Kitchen in Santa Cruz. First I'll just post my final recipe and then I'll post some followups on what I learned after making many batches and comparing the recipes.

 

Potato Gnocchi (Serves 2 to 3)

 

For the most accurate measurements you must weigh the potatoes and flour. After processing, you may have slightly more than the 3 cups (16 ounces) of potatoes required for this recipe. Discard any extra or set aside for another use.

 

Ingredients:

 

    2 pounds russet potatoes

    1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

    3 ounces all-purpose flour (or if possible use 00 Italian flour for even fluffier gnocchi,

       plus extra for the counter

    1/2 teaspoon pepper (black or white pepper OR 1/4 teaspoon each)

    2 tablespoon salt (for salting 8 cups cooking water)

 

 Instructions:

 

   1. Adjust oven rack to 2nd from top position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Poke each potato 8-16 times with paring knife over entire surface, or cut a few slits lengthwise along the potatoes. Microwave potatoes until slightly softened at ends, about 5 minutes, flipping potatoes halfway through cooking. Transfer potatoes directly to oven rack and bake until skewer glides easily through flesh and potatoes yield to gentle pressure, 60-70 minutes and internal temp is ~210.

    2. Holding each potato with potholder or kitchen towel, peel with paring knife. Process potatoes through ricer or food mill onto rimmed baking sheet. Gently spread potatoes into even layer and let cool for 5 minutes (until completely cool!!!!! As warm potatoes will absorb more flour making the gnocchi less tender. Letting the steam release gets rid of more water).

    3. Transfer 16 ounces potatoes to bowl. Using fork, gently stir in egg yolk until just combined. Sprinkle flour (3 ounces) and 1/2 teaspoon pepper over potato mixture. Using fork, gently combine until no pockets of dry flour remain. Press mixture into rough ball, transfer to lightly floured counter, and very gently knead until smooth but slightly sticky, about 30 seconds, lightly dusting counter with flour as needed to prevent sticking.

    4. Cut off a piece of the dough and gently roll into ½-inch-thick rope, and then cut rope into ¾-inch lengths.

    5. Bring 2 quarts (8 cups) water to a Medium boil (so gnocchi are gently cooked and won’t break apart) in large pot. Add 2 tablespoons salt – (ratio is 1T per 1 quart of water – This seems like a lot but this is where the gnocchi are salted and they only cook for a little over a minute so the water needs to be quite salty). Gently lower half of the gnocchi into water (if water temp drops and it stops boiling immediately turn heat back up to get water back to a gentle boil)  and cook until firm and just cooked through, about 60-90 seconds (gnocchi should float to surface after about 1 minute, and then you want to cook them an additional 30-60 seconds). Using slotted spoon, transfer cooked gnocchi to skillet with sauce. Repeat with remaining gnocchi. Gently toss gnocchi with sauce and serve.


Edited by jcg (log)
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Here are the notes/results from my 2nd to final test that I emailed to a friend that also loves gnocchi (with just minor edits).

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------

 

I used my original America's Test Kitchen recipe (which I've emailed you before), and at it's base it uses 16oz of baked/riced russet potatoes to 4 oz of flour (I use the Italian 00). The only change is per Tom Colicchio's (he's from Top Chef - posted his link in prior post) where I didn't add any salt to the potatoes. Tom says it draws out water and as a result you will need more flour, so he says to add 1T per 4 cups salt to the water, and the gnocchi gets it's salt when you cook them. Makes sense so I followed those steps and used his exact amount of recommended salt.

The big change for this experiment was to try and reduce the amount of flour. One batch had the original 4oz of flour  (4:1 ratio), and the 2nd batch had 1.8oz (a 55% reduction). The 2nd batch is almost a 9:1 ratio, and not sure if you remember but I sent you a link at one point that said the best Italian gnocchi makers get down to a ratio of 10:1 (so I was close). The 2nd change for each batch was to roll out the dough, or use a pastry bag to pipe out the dough (a trick I had never heard of but got from a chef that is known for his gnocchi).

1. The original rolled is still very good, but is a bit heavy when compared to the ones with less flour. These held together the best, but that was to be expected as it has the most flour.
2. The original piped was the best. It was slightly softer / less heavy than #1, but again that would be expected as there was no rolling which will knead the dough somewhat.
3. The 1.8 oz flour rolled was a bit difficult to work with as the dough would break apart in certain parts as you were rolling it out. It was also lighter, but here is the main point - there is a point where you use too little flour and the gnocchi gets a bit mushy.
4. The 1.8oz flour piped was even ligher as expected, but lighter in this case was even mushier. It was easier to pipe them out, and doing it this way there was no issue with the dough breaking apart.

Conclusion: I think I went too extreme in reducing the amount of flour. Maybe 3 oz of flour (a 25% reduction would be perfect), and maybe piping that dough will be the best option. Next up we still need to test bread flour vs 00 flour, and there is the option of not using any eggs in the batter too. We are getting very very close to the ultimate gnocchi!!!

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The final test I did was comparing 00 flour to bread flour. I'll edit this post later with the details.

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Some personal suggestions (based on my tastes).

The most important thing is the potato variety, you need a "firm" one (don't know what's the correct term in English language, plus I don't know how to translate the potato variety names), meaning potatoes that are quite dry after cooking, so they will absorb less flour possible.

The best way to cook potatoes for gnocchi is baking them on a baking tray covered with salt. Salt will tend to absorb the potatoes' humidity, so you'll end up with the drier cooked potatoes possible.

The best way to make the potato puree is passing the cooked potatoes through the finest sieve possible. In this way the puree will be finer than with the other methods (resulting in better gnocchi texture) and you will loose another good amount of residual humidity. Food mills or "potato mashers" (don't know the English term for that specific tool) are the traditional tools used to prepare gnocchi, but they give a worse result than a fine sieve.

Just after sieving the potatoes, spread the potato puree as thin as possible, so it will loose more humidity and will cool down sooner. Move it every minute and dry the condensation that formed on the surface before spreading again the potato puree over it.

Adding the yolk(s) will help getting a plastic dough (easier to handle while forming the gnocchi), but will result in more flour to be used. I much prefer to avoid using yolks. You just need to add a bit of flour, mix the dough, add some flour again until you get a manageable dough, then form the gnocchi. If you follow all these steps then you can get a dough with as low as 10% flour (10% of the weight of the cooked potato puree). The higher % of potatoes in the final dough, the better tasting gnocchi you will get.

Avoid using bread flour, you need flour with low gluten content.

Don't add salt to the gnocchi dough, salt the cooking water as when you cook pasta.

Some nutmeg (just a pinch, not to be noticed) is always a good addiction to the gnocchi dough.

 

 

 

Teo

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My pastry blog (in Italian language): http://www.teonzo.com/

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Thanks for sharing this, I love gnocchi too.

 

When making gnocchi, the enemy is gluten development.  It's important to knead / work the dough as little as possible to avoid gluten development or the gnocchi will be tough and dense.  The worse thing to do is make gnocchi in a mixmaster, as they'll end up like little rubber balls.

 

I have a few gluten intolerant family members and I have experimented with making gnocchi using corn flour instead of wheat flour.  Because corn flour has no gluten there's no risk of over-working the dough.  Although I make them this way to accommodate their allergies, the end result is a drier, almost crisper gnocchi that is always very tender. They're noticeable different to wheat gnocchi.

 

Personally, I think 100% corn flour isn't as good as perfect gnocchi made from wheat flour, but I think that a mix would certainly be worth experimenting with. A 50-50 mix of corn flour and soft wheat flour would be an interesting experiment (I'll do it one day…)

 

I'm mentioning this because you say you're using OO flour, but unfortunately this isn't a consistent global standard.  I think that in Italy OO is a softer / lower gluten flour for pasta and if the choice is between O and OO, then you'd use OO for gnocchi.  In other countries OO is a high protein bread and pizza flour.  It might be marketing (OO means Italian flour!  Pay more!) but using a OO flour that isn't made in Italy could result in something very different.  If you can find a low gluten cake flour then that would also be worth experimenting with.

 

Thanks for the tip about piping, never thought of that.  Will try it next time, although I'm not sure if the disposable piping bags I normally use will hold together with a gnocchi dough.  

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I may be in the minority, but I prefer potato gnocchi to have a little firmness to them. I once very successfully made gnocchi with practically no flour at all and, while they did hold together, they were so tender that it was like eating little bites of mashed potatoes. I didn't dig it.


Edited by slkinsey (log)
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Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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