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How-To

Tips for Making Great Gnocchi

photos: Scott Phillips
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Making potato gnocchi is one of those rewarding endeavors that gets easier the more times you do it. These tips can help too.

 

  • Pick the right potato. Starchy russets give gnocchi a light texture. Boiling potatoes whole and unpeeled helps to keep them from absorbing excess water. Remove the peel as soon as you can so that steam is released rather than absorbed into the flesh.
      
  • Use a ricer. Passing boiled potatoes through a ricer, a tool that looks like an oversize garlic press, instead of mashing ensures a fine texture—no one wants lumpy gnocchi— and aerates them as well.
      
  • Make the dough with still-warm potatoes. This will encourage the egg to bind the dough.
      
  • Be stingy with the flour. The exact amount will vary depending on the flour, potatoes, and humidity in your kitchen, but add additional flour sparingly. You want enough to hold the dough together, but not so much to cause the gnocchi to become heavy.
      
  • Handle gently. Overworking develops gluten, which can make gnocchi tough. Mix and shape with a light touch.
      
  • Test for texture. Before you shape all of your gnocchi, make and cook just a couple. If the gnocchi fall apart, add more flour to the dough.
      
  • Freeze ‘em. Frozen gnocchi are easier to handle than fresh and hold their shape better during cooking. (To loosen frozen gnocchi from a baking sheet, give the pan a shake.)
      
  • Don’t overcook. If your gnocchi cook for too long, they can absorb too much water and become dense and chewy.
      
  • Forgo the colander. Delicate gnocchi can get squashed if drained. Remove them from the pot with a skimmer or slotted spoon and toss gently with sauce to coat.

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