Potato gnocchi is a dumpling best made with starchy, fluffy, russet potatoes. Like pasta, it can be made ahead of time for convenience. You can make it on a weekday when you’re craving a fresh meal born from your own skills, knowledge, and love. There are different kinds of gnocchi, including French Parisienne gnocchi, which is made from pâte à choux instead of potato.
Chef Thomas Keller makes Italian-style gnocchi from potato, egg, and flour. There are many varieties of Italian gnocchi, each made from different starchy ingredients. This homemade potato gnocchi recipe originates from the Lombardy region in Northern Italy, and is the most common and well-known variety of gnocchi. It is extremely versatile in preparation and saucing.
2 russet potatoes, approximately 11 ounces each
75–100 grams all-purpose flour
35 grams egg yolks
12-quart stockpot, water at a simmer
Sheet pan, lined with paper towels
To prepare the potatoes:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pierce the potatoes with a fork to allow moisture to escape while baking. Pour a generous mound of salt onto the center of a baking sheet to stabilize the potatoes and set the potatoes on top. Bake for one hour and use a paring knife to test for doneness. They should be soft and completely cooked. Brush off the excess salt and begin the process for making gnocchi while the potatoes are still hot.
To make the gnocchi:
Scoop the potato flesh out of its jacket while still hot and moist, and push through the potato ricer onto your work surface. Form a well with the riced potato, much as you would for pasta dough, and sprinkle with flour. Add the egg yolks, season with salt, and sprinkle with flour; then use the bench scraper to mix in the ingredients. Begin to form a ball of dough, working gently. Do not knead—this will activate the gluten and make gummy gnocchi. The finished ball of dough should be soft to the touch and hold the imprint of your finger.
Use your fingers, not your palms, to roll and stretch the dough out to a rope the diameter of your preference. Cut the roll into pieces the size that you’d like your gnocchi to be, and then roll each piece into a ball. Gently roll each ball onto the gnocchi paddle to form an ovular-shaped gnocchi with ridges, letting each piece fall from the paddle onto the sheet pan. Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer and add a gnocchi. Test for texture.
If the gnocchi falls apart, it may need a little more flour and working of the dough. If the gnocchi is heavy and dense, there is not much you can do other than make observations and use this information to prevent this from occurring in subsequent batches.
As with any dumpling, the gnocchi will float to the top when done. Skim the gnocchi into an ice bath then drain on a paper towel–lined sheet pan. If you plan on freezing the gnocchi, transfer them to a parchment-lined sheet pan that has been lightly sprayed with vegetable oil. You can either serve your gnocchi right away, refrigerate and use within two days, or freeze and store in an airtight freezer bag for future use.
Pomodoro is a quick, fresh tomato sauce that is perfect to cook with either your fresh homemade gnocchi or frozen gnocchi for a beautiful meal of convenience. Chef Keller learned the box grater technique for tomatoes from Chef José Andrés. Use canned San Marzanos when tomatoes are out of season.
200 grams tomato, grated
10 grams garlic, grated
35 grams light olive oil
6 basil leaves
Kosher salt, to taste
Champagne vinegar, to taste
12-inch sauté pan
Bowl for trim
Cut tomatoes in half on their equator, gently squeeze out the seeds, and use the fine side of a box grater to grate seeded tomatoes into a bowl, leaving the skin behind.
Heat sauté pan over high heat, add enough oil to barely coat the bottom of the pan. Once you start to see faint wisps of smoke, carefully add the gnocchi to the pan and give them a gentle shake to prevent them from sticking. Allow the gnocchi to lightly caramelize. Use the sloped edge of the sauté pan to make the gnocchi “jump,” which will help them caramelize evenly. Season with salt.
Remove the pan from heat and grate in the garlic. Take the pan back to the heat to lightly sauté the garlic. Add the grated fresh tomatoes. Season with more salt as needed to taste and a bit of vinegar. Remember that the parmesan will also add saltiness when you’re finishing the pomodoro so account for that when seasoning.
Remove the pan from heat and top the homemade gnocchi with torn basil. Spoon the gnocchi and sauce onto a serving dish, and use the microplane to finish with parmesan cheese.
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