I make gnocchi a few times a year mostly upon Remi's request, who loves gnocchi, especially with blue cheese sauce. He has always liked it since he heard that one of Roger Federer's favourite foods were gnocchi with Gorgonzola cheese sauce. Did I say before that Remi and I were the two die-hard Federer fans? :)
Since kids liked gnocchi very much, I bought and tried frozen gnocchi pasta a couple of times, but none of us liked the texture of it. I wanted to have a quality gnocchi like what I could have at an Italian restaurant. I underwent trial and error before I acquired my own know-how . Before, I was so ignorant that I used potato masher to mash the potato! You shouldn't never ever ever do it. Deconstructed potato has to be as light and fluffy as possible.
There are two things you need to remember when you make potato gnocchi.
i. as I mentioned above, potato needs to be as light and fluffy as possible when dismantled.
ii. potato has to be still hot while being handled.
It's a bit of work, but the texture and taste of the pasta are incomparable to the frozen one. Here goes my recipe for potato gnocchi and blue cheese sauce.
(Partly adapted from Giallo Zafferano)
1 pound russet potatoes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Blue cheese sauce
1/2 cup 18% or 10% cream
60 g (2 oz) blue cheese, preferably Gorgonzola
1. Fill a large pot with water. Add 2 tablespoons salt. Place potatoes in the pot. Bring the water to boil and cook potatoes until tender. It takes about a half hour. Or you can bake it for 40-45 minutes in the 425 degrees F oven. (Oops, I didn't take a photo for this step)
2. Remove the potatoes from the water and let sit just until cool enough to handle, but still hot.
Peel the flesh out. (Be careful! Don't burn yourself!)
3. Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer/food mill, or grate them on the box grater. Make a mound of potatoes on the counter.
4. Make a well in the middle, and add flour, an egg, and salt.
5. Fold the mass over itself and press down. Repeat folding and pressing just a few times until the dough just holds together.
7. Roll out the dough into 1/2 inch thick circle(oval).
8. Cut the dough into stripes. To make it prettier, you should cut into 1/2-inch in diameter. My ropes were twice thicker.
Then, roll them into ropes.
9. Cut the ropes into small pieces.
10. Form gnocchi into the classic gnocchi shape with a gnocchi board or the tines of a large fork turned upside down. Take each piece and squish it lightly with your index or thumb while rolling it away from you.
Indentation holds the sauce better.
Gnocchi look like cocoons, don't they?
11. When ready to cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Drop in the gnocchi and cook for about 90 seconds from the time they rise to the surface.
Remove the cooked gnocchi with a skimmer, shake off the excess water.
You can serve gnocchi with any kind of sauce you like.
Pablo likes it with tomato sauce while Remi likes gnocchi with blue cheese sauce.
Blue cheese sauce is very simple to make.
Pour cream in a skillet. When the cream is heated, add crumbled blue cheese and mix it thoroughly until there isn't any lump! That's it.
Mix with gnocchi and serve hot!
At Italian restaurant and in Italy, gnocchi is served as primo piatto (first course). But, I serve it as a main meal when I make it as gnocchi itself is very filling. I love soft elasticity of homemade gnocchi.
Gnocchi di Patate in Salsa di Gorgonzola