Monday, November 15, 2010


When I grew up, gnocchi was just the name of a pasta shaped like shells. It was just made of flour and was dried, just like any other pasta. I liked the shape, because they got filled up with the sauce and were just the right size.

It wasn't until I bought Vegan With a Vengeance that I realized that there might be another kind of gnocchi out there. My kind of gnocchi, was just a rip off! I learned that the real deal was a dumpling, often made with potato. I realized that I had to get going and make me some. That was two years ago, and didn't turn out really well. The gnocchi was to soft, and even though it stayed in shape at least somehow, it was a bit sloppy. I felt disappointed but didn't think much about it.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to give it another go. I had the recipe from  Vegan With a Vengeance in front of me, but didn't have a kitchen scale so I improvised with the amounts. The first batch came out a disaster, they fell apart completely into a big mushy mess. I ate it, feeling a bit frustrated but refusing to give up. I had half the dough left in the fridge, and next morning I got to it, thinking I would mix in some more flour and boil away. What I discovered, was that the dough had turned very wet. When I made it, it felt firm and held together very well. Now, the potatoes had absorbed the flour better and I realized that I must have used way to little flour. I added some, and boiled it, holding my breath. They turned out perfect.

So, this is my best method for making gnocchi, without measuring the ingredients.
1. Bake the potatoes and let them cool completely before peeling them.
2. Mash them up, really well, together with some olive oil.
3. Add some herbs if you like too.
4. Knead in flour, until it's a firm dough that holds together well.
5. Let it sit for about 1 hour. You'll probably find that the dough is too wet after that time.
6. Knead in more flour, as needed.
7. Roll the dough out to a log, about as thick as your thumb.
8. Cut the log into small pillows.
9. Boil in salted water for 3 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a plate.

Then you're ready to eat!

Some thoughts:
- You don't have to let it rest, but it helps knowing how much flour needed for them not falling apart. If you will not let it rest, make a test-boil with one gnocchi to see if it keeps together first.
- After cutting them to pillows, you can make them all fancy by rolling them along a fork, using your thumb.This will make ridges on one side and a thumb print on the other. I'm just too lazy for that.

I will definitely make more gnocchi, and when I have a kitchen scale, I'll come up with a bit more specific recipe. That seems to be in the future though, so until then, you have this! It's really easy, and super tasty. I love it with tomato sauce with shredded zucchini in it.