Homemade Potato Gnocchi

Potato Gnocchi

Gnocchi are round-shaped pieces of dough made from cooked potatoes mixed with flour, or made from semolina!

 

A bit of history

Gnocchi are perhaps the first 'homemade' type of pasta, made by tearing small pieces from the dough and simply cooking them in boiling water. Naturally, the first ones were made of flour and water, then other doughs were adopted, until, in the second half of the 18th century, they were made with potatoes.

Although their origins are very simple, gnocchi can reach considerable refinement: so much so that the great chef Escoffier in his book Guide Culinaire made some recipes for them as early as a century ago.

 

Where did they originate?

In Italy potato gnocchi became very popular especially in Veneto and Piedmont. There is, among other things, an important controversy over the type of potato to be used: many cookbooks (all agreeing that potatoes should be 'floury') indicate the yellow potato, others the white one. Since, moreover in the Italian market, yellow potatoes are usually found in non-floury varieties, it is better to use white-paste potatoes, of which 'Majestic', 'Tonda di Napoli' and 'Bianca di Como' are most suitable.

Basically, gnocchi can be identified as potato gnocchi, 'alla romana' (made of semolina); polenta (maize), plum and cocoa gnocchi (typical of Friuli), spinach and ricotta gnocchi (the latter, however, not to be confused with Tuscan gnudi).

Secrets for its correct preparation

First, the floury potatoes must be boiled in plenty of lightly salted water, peeled and mashed. Then the flour must be added to the mashed potatoes, kneading the mixture until it becomes smooth and elastic, while remaining soft. The amount of flour varies, it is important not to add too much as it makes the gnocchi too hard, nor too little, otherwise the gnocchi would disintegrate in the cooking water. As soon as the dough has reached the right consistency, you can finally form small rolls about 1.5 cm thick and cut them into pieces of about 2-3 cm.

Sauces for gnocchi

The sauces that go best with this type of pasta are: butter and cheese, tomato sauce, meat sauce, Ligurian pesto.

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