Making potato gnocchi is one of those rewarding endeavors that gets easier the more times you do it. At Bellisari’s we pride ourselves on Gourmet Convenience and what is more gourmet than homemade gnocchi so why not pair it with one of our open and serve spreads. We have an amazingly easy but delicious recipe below with bacon and our Blue Cheese, Honey & Shallot Spread but remember, it can take all afternoon to make a batch of homemade gnocchi so why not freeze some for later. Our Blistered Jalapeno & Fig Spread, Balsamic, Black Garlic and Shallot Spread and our Calabrian and Sweet Tomato Fennel Spread are all a perfect sauce with homemade gnocchi. Below are some helpful tips from Fine Cooking Magazine that are sure to help when making gnocchi.
▪ 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.
Gnocchi with Blue Cheese, Honey & Shallot Spread with Bacon
1 Jar of Bellisari’s Blue Cheese, Honey & Shallot Spread
5 slices bacon, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 cups of Potato Gnocchi (see below)
Fresh parsley, chopped
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high until crisp. Drain on paper towels; pour out all but 2 teaspoons fat from skillet. Add Bellisari’s Blue Cheese, Honey & Shallot Spread; season with salt and pepper. Add gnocchi and bacon. Toss until gnocchi are heated through and coated with sauce. Sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan; serve immediately.
Made From Scratch Gnocchi
2 lb. russet potatoes (about 4 medium), scrubbed
6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour, more for kneading and rolling
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Put the unpeeled potatoes in a large pot. Fill the pot with enough cold water to cover the potatoes by at least 2 inches and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, partially cover the pot, and simmer the potatoes until they are completely tender and easily pierced with a skewer, 30 to 35 minutes.
Drain the potatoes, let them cool just enough that you can handle them, and then peel them. Cut them in half crosswise and pass them through a ricer into a large bowl. Let cool until almost at room temperature, at least 20 minutes.
Lightly flour a work surface. In a small bowl, mix the flour with the salt. Add the egg to the potatoes and then add the flour mixture. Mix with your hands until the flour is moistened and the dough starts to clump together; the dough will still be a bit crumbly at this point. Gather the dough together and press it against the bottom of the bowl until you have a uniform mass. Transfer it to the floured surface and wash your hands.
Knead gently until the flour is fully incorporated and the dough is soft, smooth, and a little sticky, 30 seconds to 1 minute. (Don’t over mix it, or the gnocchi will be tough; the dough should feel very delicate.) Move the dough to one side, making sure the surface underneath it is well floured. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel.
Cover two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment and sprinkle lightly with flour.
Remove any lingering bits of dough from your work surface and lightly re-flour the surface. Tear off a piece of dough about the size of a large lemon and put the towel back on the rest of the dough so it doesn’t dry out.
With the palms of both hands, roll the dough piece on the floured surface into a rope about 3/4 inch in diameter.
With a sharp knife or a bench knife, cut the rope crosswise every 3/4 inch to make roughly 3/4-inch-square gnocchi. Arrange the gnocchi in a single layer on the parchment-covered baking sheets, making sure they don’t touch. Repeat until you run out of dough, re-flouring the work surface as needed. When all the gnocchi have been cut and spread out on the baking sheets, sprinkle them with a little more flour.
If you’re going to use the gnocchi within 2 to 3 hours, they can sit out on the counter. For longer storage, see the make ahead tips below.
Make Ahead Tips
You can serve freshly made gnocchi right away or within a couple of hours, or you can freeze them for later use. Put the gnocchi in the freezer while they’re still on the baking sheets and freeze until they are hard to the touch, at least one hour. Transfer them to a large zip-top bag or several smaller bags and freeze for up to two months. Cook frozen gnocchi in boiling water in two batches. Frozen gnocchi cause the temperature of the cooking water to drop, so they’ll fall apart before the water returns to a boil if there are too many in the pot. Don’t refrigerate fresh gnocchi for more than two or three hours, as they tend to ooze water and become soggy.