Whole Wheat Gnocci Part 1

I first learned to make gnocchi from Michael Kramer when I worked the hot appetizer station at McCrady’s. We roasted whole, unpeeled russet potatoes in the oven until they were cooked through. Once the potatoes were cool enough to handle, they were peeled and then riced through a food mill. After they cooled to room temperature, an egg was incorporated along with sifted flour until just the right consistency was achieved. The key to this is not overworking the starch in the potato. Doing so will make a rubbery texture. The perfect gnocchi should be like a small, delicate pillow.

For two main dishes or four appetizers, use 4-5 russets or approximately 3 pounds of potatoes, 1 whole egg, and about 2cups of sifted flour. In this version, I am utilizing wholewheat flour for a more nutritious version. You can substitute any type of flour you like.

The first step in creating gnocchi is choosing the right potato. You want one that is high in starch and non-waxy. Russets work well. Avoid yukons as they are to waxy and will make a chewy final product. The potatoes can be prepared by either boiling on baking whole. I prefer to bake them in a 350F oven for about 1 hour.

After the cooked potatoes are cool enough to handle. Peel away the skin and immediately process them through a food mill or potato ricer onto a clean work table. Chop the potatoes with a pastry scraper until they are room temperature and season heavily with salt and white pepper.

Once they have cooled, form them in a mound with a crater in the center. Beat the egg and pour into this crater. Work the potatoes and egg with your hands until completely incorporated. Add half of the flour using a kneading motion, and folding the dough onto itself. Continue adding the remaining flour 1/4c at a time until the dough has lost its tackiness. Allow it to rest for about 5 minutes and then divide it into 8 portions.

Roll each one of these portions into a snakelike shape about 1/2″ in diameter. Dust the dough periodically to keep it from sticking as you roll it. Using a pastry scraper or knife, cut the snakes into 1” pieces. and place on a floured piece of parchment.

At this stage, the gnocchi can be frozen spread in a single layer on a floured baking sheet or utilized immediately. After they are frozen, they can be transferred to a bag for storage in the freezer. When ready to use, they can be transferred directly from freezer into a pot of salted boiling water. Cook in small batches. They are ready when they rise to the top of the water. If using fresh, the same principle applies. Once cooked they can be tossed with some olive oil to avoid sticking and then utilized in a number of manners.


~ by Schwarvin on September 7, 2008.

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