At first, I was a bit hesitated to cook gnocchi, not only because have I ever cooked gnocchi before, although I really enjoy it at some restaurants, but also have I heard that gnocchi recipes aren't for the faint of heart. After a few exchanges with Penny and Divina, I was really glad to take up the challenge and join this gnocchi party with excitement.
After making up my mind to join, suddenly I recalled a cookbook written by Jamie Oliver, entitled “Cook with Jamie”, that was one of my Mother’s Day presents from my kids. With a surprise, there is a section about cooking gnocchi which I haven’t touched at all. How wonderful I felt when I found Jamie’s gnocchi recipe. That looks very delicious and easy to make.
But still, I was a bit worried how to go about making some nice and beautiful gnocchi because I don’t have a ricer or any proper equipments to help make potato dough. Many thanks to Divina for telling me that a strainer would work for mashing potatoes. For traditional gnocchi, it’s got some nice and nifty patterns on it. How could I make perfect potato dough and patterns with my bare hands? Then I found Heidi Swanson explained every detail on “How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother Recipe” with gorgeous pictures on her blog, 101 Cookbooks. Heidi’s post helped me out from anxiety and cleared all my uncertainties. Then off I went to make my first gnocchi with a fork.
Combining with bits and pieces of information at my fingertips, I started to cook my first gnocchi ever. It turned out wonderful. The gnocchi was deliciously light, not too dry nor too soggy, absorbed all the tasty flavours of the creamy mushroom sauce. It’s a big hit in my family.
This recipe was inspired by Jamie Oliver's Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Sage, from “Cook with Jamie”, p.114. I've tweaked Jamie’s version with a little more creamy mushroom sauce, because I think it’d be more friendly to my readers, easier to find all the ingredients.
Ingredients of potato gnocchi:
- 650 gm starchy potatoes (russets), medium size
- 3/4 cup plain flour (all-purpose flour)
- 1 egg yolk
- fine grain sea salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 200 gm Swiss mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 250 ml vegetable stock (or water)
- 1/2 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely sliced
- 15 gm butter
- 2 Tbsp thickened cream
- fresh continental parsley leaves for garnish, roughly chopped
- Parmesan cheese, grated for garnish
- Olive oil
- semolina flour
- fine grain sea salt, to taste
- freshly grated black pepper, to taste
(Side note: To take the picture 4, I used my left hand to hold the strainer and tablespoon, my right hand to press the shutter. It's a new challenge to me!)
Method of making potato gnocchi:
- Preheat the oven to 200C (392F).
- Prick potatoes with a fork, brush potatoes with olive oil evenly. Lay in a roasting tray. Bake for an hour until the potatoes are fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside (picture 1).
- Allow them to cool for a couple of minutes, until they are still nice and hot, use a tea towel to pick up potatoes one at a time, peel off skins. Cut roughly and place all potatoes into a strainer (the holes are not too large or too small that could let mashed potatoes go through). Mash the potato with a tablespoon (picture 2) and push through the strainer (picture 3). Scrape mashed potatoes from strainer underneath (picture 4) and place on a clean surface. After finishing this step, the potato should be still hot, or warm at least.
- Add the egg yolk, sprinkle salt and pepper (picture 5). Mix in plain flour in batches. Combine the mixture and knead with clean hands until you have a dry, doughy consistency (picture 6). You might not need all the flour though. (Note: Jamie said, you need 1-2 handfuls of plain flour. I estimated that I used 3/4 cup.) Add a little water if you feel it’s too dry, or a little more flour if it’s too wet. To test whether the dough is ready, chuck a small piece and place in boiling water. If it falls apart, add a bit more flour to the dough.
- Once you have your gnocchi dough ready, divide it into 3 pieces and roll each piece out on a floured surface into long tubes, with the thickness similar to your finger. Cut each of the tubes into 2.5cm (1 inch) pieces. Place each small potato tube onto the tines of a fork with an angle, about 45degree, use your thumb to press in the middle of the soft dough, slightly roll your thumb forward, then you have nice patterns on top with a C shape at the back (picture 7).
- Place them on a bed of semolina flour on a tray and put in the fridge for 10 to 20 minutes to set (picture 8).
Method of cooking gnocchi with mushroom sauce:
- Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add chopped chilli, garlic, salt and pepper and butter.
- When the garlic is slightly golden, add stock and cook on medium heat, until liquid reduces by half, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in 2 tablespoons of thickened cream.
- Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 4 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Once the gnocchi is cooked, spoon them out with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Handle with care because you don’t want to break the delicate gnocchi into pieces or turn them back to mashed potato.
- Add them into the mushroom mixture, just incorporated all ingredients. Carefully transfer to a plate. Sprinkle chopped parsley. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese over the top.
Do head over and check out other gnocchi crews’ recipes with a variety styles and different flavours because they are fantastic food bloggers. The theme of our gnocchi party is “umami”, which is a flavour enhancer. We use natural and wholesome umami, like broth, stock, cheese, proteins to enhance the dish.
- Gnocchi Gnudi from Addictive & Consuming (by Penny, host of gnocchi party)
- Braised Beef Short Ribs Adobo on Potato Gnocchi from Sense & Serendipity (by Divina)
- Pan-fried Pumpkin Gnocchi with Truffle Paste and Basil from Eat, Live, Travel, Write (by Mardi)
- Chocolate-filled Plantain Gnocchi, with chillies for Dessert from Kitchen Butterfly (by Ozoz)
- Malfatti a la Al Di La from Tasty Trix (by Trix)
- Tuna & Anchovy sauce gnocchi with roasted vegetables from Hold the Beef (by Conor)
- Gnocchi di Patate con Funghi e Salvia from Tummy Rumbles (by Mellie)
- Potato Gnocchi with Blue Cheese Sauce from Off the spork (by Agnes)
- Gnocchi Chicken Tikka from Enriching your kid (by Shirley)
- Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Nori Butter from Five Star Foodie (by Natasha)