We’ve kind of been celebrating the gluten-free pasta weeks here on Vegetarian and Gluten-free, and I believe that a collection of pasta recipes is not complete, if it doesn’t include gnocchi. Gnocchi are a kind of dumplings made from potatoes and flour, including a dash of parmigiano and held together by the odd egg or two. They go well with all kinds of sauces and vegetables, and they are very easy to make. They do fill you pretty quickly, so I always try to have a fairly light non-creamy sauce with it.
I didn’t think of making my own gnocchi until recently, when I realized just how much I could save. A small package of gluten-free gnocchi containing just about enough to fill up one hungry person will run you around four or five Euro. The cost of making them is indefinitely cheaper (The price of potatoes? Well, hello, little darling!), plus it will render a ton of gnocchi (that you can freeze and eat at a later point in time). Also, they taste so much better than store-bought – and their texture will be much creamier and fluffier.
It’s a bit of work before you can eat your gnocchi, but it’s absolutely worth the trouble. Make this recipe on a lazy Sunday afternoon. You can roll, cut and form gnocchi while listening to an old record or catching up with the news on the radio or watching a re-run of your favorite series on TV. If you have a kitchen machine, this is a way of putting it to work.
1 kg potatoes (unpeeled)
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
one pinch nutmeg
½ cup grated parmigiano cheese
2 cups gluten-free flour mix (I used Schaer Farine; 1/2 cup separated – you’ll need it for forming gnocchi)
½ cup gluten-free polenta
Place the potatoes in a pot with water and a generous amount of salt. Boil potatoes until tender. Drain. Then peel a potato, while it is still hot (be careful!) and immediately press through a potato ricer and into a large bowl. I hear that the hotter the potatoes are, the fluffier your gnocchi will be. Repeat with all potatoes until all are peeled and have been put through the potato ricer.Let the potatoes cool off completely.
Add all the other ingredients (minus half a cup of flour) onto the potatoes. One by one.
This is Mephisto, and the remainder of the cheese in the vegetable shredder! Knead into a smooth dough. I let Mephisto (my Bosch MAXXIMUM) do this part. The dough shouldn’t be too sticky, but also not to dry. You want to roll it out and form your gnocchi after all, but still use a bit of flour to help you with that.
In a second bowl, mix together the remaining flour and the polenta and dust your (very clean) kitchen counter.
Take out a handful of dough and roll it into a rope of about three centimeters thickness. Proceed to cut the rope into pieces, about as thick as your thumb. Then take your gnocchi (I think this is singular for gnocchi, hehehe) into one hand, and use a fork to create a pattern, all around the gnoccho. Repeat with the rest of your dough until it has been used up. Yes, that’s a lot of gnocchi!
If you want to freeze your gnocchi, then now is the time. For this, I suggest putting them on an aluminum foil or a wooden board and placing the gnocchi into your freezer. Wait for them to freeze, about two to three hours. Then transfer to a plastic bag, which you want to close tightly. Once you want to cook your gnocchi,simply drop them in boiling water and look at the instructions below.
If want, you can also eat the gnocchi right away. For this purpose boil water in a large pot and salt it generously. Then cook gnocchi in batches. They are ready when they have floated to the surface and remained there for about a minute. Drain your gnocchi and continue to process them with a sauce, vegetable or recipe of your choice.
I believe they go well with all sorts of sauces and vegetables, e.g. with fried zucchini and parsley, or served as a side dish with sage butter and parmigiano. Gnocchi have kind of a creamy, but otherwise neutral taste, so they go well with strong and dominant flavors such as gorgonzola or a spicy tomato sauce.
PS.: I suggest making these gnocchi with parmigiano only and not using pecorino for all sorts of reasons, the most important ones meaning that pecorino is made from sheep milk and has a taste and smell that may or may not be to other people’s liking. I also found that the higher content in fat to contribute to dissolving gnocchi, something which has not happened to me while making them with parmigiano.