May 28, 2014

Soft and Fluffy Gnocchi

The first time I had gnocchi was in 2005. I was a young, wide eyed lass on vacation in LA, and I was staying with a cute boy I’d met at a dance weekend a few months prior. On one of those evenings he offered to make me a vegan version of a family recipe using Tofurkey sausage and vegan gnocchi. I had no idea what gnocchi was, but a cute boy was cooking me dinner so I didn’t care!

It turns out gnocchi was(is) a fluffy potato dumplingesque pasta. The meal was incredible, and I’m pretty sure I ate an entire package of gnocchi in one sitting. He served me an “Argentine portion” – his term, not mine! It was very romantic. 

9 year later, and almost five years into marriage, gnocchi continues to be a romantic food for us. It was only natural that we would get into making our own. 

Gnocchis made by very experienced hands (or machines) tend to be uniform and beautiful. This comes with time. As you can see I’m not there yet, but it doesn’t matter. They’re gonna taste good no matter what they look like!

Soft and Fluffy Gnocchi
Serves 4-6
  • 2 pounds gold potatoes, peeled
  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 egg replacer “egg”
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper (optional)
To Make Gnocchi
1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Cut the potatoes into uniform sized pieces. I like to do 1/2 inch slices, but it doesn’t really matter. Place the potato pieces in a large pot, and cover them with cold water. Boil on high heat for 20 minutes or so until you can stick a fork in one of the potatoes with ease. Drain your taters.
3. Place the cooked potatoes in a large bowl and mash them until there are little to no lumps of any size. (If you have a ricer you should just use that.)
4. Add the nutritional yeast, “egg”, salt and pepper, and 1 1/2 cups of flour to the potatoes. Stir with your hands to combine. The dough should come together into a ball. It should be soft but not overly wet and sticky. If the dough is too wet add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Knead just until the flour is absorbed, and no more! Over kneading will give you dense gnocchis. 
5. Place your dough on a large floured work station. Cut the ball in half and then in half again for 4 equal pieces. 
6. Roll out your first piece into a rope a little thicker than your thumb. Slice the rope into 1 inch slices. Slide each slice of dough over the tines of a fork to form a gnocchi. Place it on one of the prepared baking sheets in single layer. Repeat until you’re out of dough.

To Cook

1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.
2. Drop your gnocchi into the boiling water being careful not to overcrowd. You’ll likely have to cook these in batches depending on the size of your pot. When the gnocchi floats to the top of the pot they are done. – This is why it is important not to overcrowd. If you overcrowd, they’ll get stuck on each other and they won’t float. The result will be disintegrated gnocchi.
3. Remove with a slotted spoon and let sit for 5-10 minutes before using in your recipe.

We love gnocchi with pesto, mushroom bolognese, or just covered in olive oil and veggies!