When I was 5 years old my mother took me to an Italian restaurant, that was the first contact with the gnocchi, a potato delight that has to be light as a feather and able to absorb the salsa, it’s a dish that require dedication so it can be appropriately delicate.
The origin is unknown, it can be tracked to the Romans age, the name may come from the words nocchio (wich means knot) or nocca (which means nuckle), both words may be used because are parts of the fabrication process that require make dough stripes, cut them and pass every piece over the fork and press it to shape it like a nuckle.
To make this recipe I found out that was very useful to use a ricer press, it makes a more loose purée and a lighter result.
1 ½ pounds large white potatoes (such as Idaho)
1 extra large egg
1 ½ cups flour, plus more for the work surface
At least 1 tablespoon of sea salt for the cooking water
Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with water about 2 inches above the top of the potatoes. Bring the potatoes to a gentle boil, until they are knife tender about 30-40 minutes.
Keep the skins from rupturing so the potatoes don’t absorb any water and don’t overcook them.
Let the potatoes cool a bit so that you can handle them. With a kitchen towel hold the hot potato and peel them.
Put the potatoes through a ricer while the potatoes are still hot.
Mashing the potatoes works in a pinch but the gnocchi won’t be as light.
Spread the riced potatoes on a cookie sheet or a flat baking pan in a single layer to cool and allow some of the moisture to evaporate when the riced potatoes are dried the lighter the dough will be.
Bring a big pot of very well-salted water to a boil.
Put the riced potatoes in a mound on a flat work surface. Create a well in the middle as a vulcano, crack the egg onto the work surface in the well. Beat the egg well.
Slowly start to incorporate riced potatoes with the eggs
When fully incorporated spread out the mixture and sprinkle some of the flour over the top, knead the flour into the potato mixture.
Repeat with another dusting of flour until the dough holds together and is smooth and soft.
Try to use as little flour as possible for light gnocchi.
Sprinkle some flour on the work surface so the dough doesn’t stick. Knead the dough to create a smooth dough ball and then cut that ball into 6 pieces
Flour the work surface again if necessary and roll each piece into a rope of 1/2 inch diameter and then cut the rope into ½ inch pieces.
The work surface must have enough flour so that the pieces don’t stick together.
Using the back of a fork press the piece over the tines with your thumb and press downwards to push the gnocchi off the fork.
You’ll create indentations from the tines on the back of the gnocchi and a concave indentation on the other side from the pressure of your thumb. The shape and texture to absorb the sauce.
Spread the gnocchi on a floured cookie sheet or flat baking pan as you make them.
Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water, gently stir to make sure they don’t stick together and gently boil the gnocchi until they rise to the top of the water.
Remove the gnocchi with a spider or mesh ladle and place them in the sauté pan with the sauce of your choice.
You can freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet or shallow baking pan. Make sure they not touching one another! When they’re frozen store them in a freezer bag. Boil them still frozen. They’ll take a little longer to cook.