Gnocchi at Fratelli Perata
is quite amazing how exceptional home-made foods can be. Ravioli and
Gnocchi fall into the “Wow” category when loving hands do the work. Oh,
yeah, actually hands that have a feel for what they are doing. Lefse
and tortillas are also most excellent made at home. All have a common
bond: flour and moisture. With practice, it can be done. And since the
ingredients are inexpensive, failures have a small price. After all,
you can't play video games all afternoon. C'mon kids, get your hands in
Mama made her gnocchi without really thinking about
them. She'd be chattering away about her sister and her kids, how the
garden was growing, how her mother was shocked there was kissing on the
movie screen (1930's), how they brought the laundry down the streets to
the communal laundry in Bel Monte and all the women gossiped about how
strong their husbands were. You know: life in general. While this
was all going on, the gnocchi came together. Now that she's gone, we
have a community effort to make gnocchi. This recipe is a compilation
of Mama, Brad the Webmaster, and Mario Batali. What we can't remember
from Mama, or maybe what we just can't elucidate, Brad has kindly put
together in a workable recipe. The key is lightness or they turn into
bombs in your stomach. The way to keep them light is not much moisture,
so then you don't need much flour. Mama knew that, she thought everyone
knew it. Here it is spelled out.
3 lbs. potatoes, boiling and old ones. Mama used White Rose, but you just can't find them anymore. Idaho ok if you must.
2 cups flour, max, start with 1 ½ cup as you're working with the potatoes
1 egg, extra large
1 tsp salt
½ cup canola oil, of course, Mama used olive oil, but a bland one not a gourmet oil
Special Equipment: Ricer, no not the cooker, the metal wheely thing, a food mill
the potatoes after cleaning any soil and the little eyes about 1 hour
at 350 degrees, until they “give” when squeezed. Remove skins, rice
while still hot in a thin layer over a sheet pan. Let cool. Note from
Batali: if you mash instead of rice, you are compacting the starch,
making it heavy. If you do a thin layer, the steam can escape, so less
moisture. If they are cool, they absorb less flour.
well (have you pasta makers heard this before?) in the middle of the
potatoes, sprinkle with 1 ½ c flour. Crack egg into well, add salt.
Using a fork begin stirring the flour and potatoes into the egg. When
all mixed, form into a ball, knead gently about 4 minutes, or until dry
to the touch.
On a lightly floured board, take about ¼ of
the ball, roll into a log about an inch diameter, then cut pieces about
¾ inch along the log. Using a fork, place a piece on the concave side,
push your finger against the dough to make a slight depression, flick
it down onto the board. Now you have the traditional shape that holds
onto your favorite sauce. Repeat process to use all dough.
immediately, Boil salted water in large, wide pan. Add a couple
test gnocchi: boil until they float to the surface, about 1 minute,
count to ten, remove with a slotted spoon and taste. If they've
dissolved before you caught them, take them out of the water either as
soon as they float or quickly after. Either way, try a new test gnocchi
until it times between floating and 10 seconds, without being dissolved
or tasting floury (uncooked). Really not hard, you just have to be
Batali says to boil them as you form them, to drop
straight into the boiling water, removing them as soon as they float,
putting them in an ice bath. When all have been cooled, drain. Toss
with the canola oil and can store covered in refrigerator up to 48
hours. I guess that works if you're exhausted or are entertaining later.
would have ready a serving bowl filled with a little of the sauce to be
used with the gnocchi. She would move the cooked gnocchi to the bowl as
they were done boiling. Then add the rest of the sauce and toss
lightly. Since everyone was eagerly anticipating the meal, there wasn't
any storing procedure necessary. So pick your favorite sauce, some Tre Sorelle, and enjoy.