Easter lunch at my parents’ place means gnocchi. This tradition certainly makes me a happy daughter! My mom’s gnocchi and tomato sauce is amazing. While I always help out – we all have our jobs when it comes to making gnocchi for a gazillion people* – this year, I tried to document the gnocchi making process just in case some readers are interested in learning how to make it.
This isn’t a definite recipe. With much of my mom’s cooking (and recipes), you just “have to feel it”. This makes learning a bit of a challenge, I have to say, but I’ve gotten better at figuring out what “feels” right, and I’m sure you will too!
1. Boil a bunch of potatoes with the peels on for a bunch of minutes so they soften.
2. Drain the potatoes, peel them, and smoosh them in one of these potato press gadgets. (You can also use a food mill, but mom recently told me that she likes the results from the potato press better than the food mill.)
3. Spread the grated/smooshed potatoes onto a clean tea towel and let them cool.
4. Once cool, put the grated potatoes onto the counter, crack two eggs on top of them, and spread a bunch of flour around the pile of potatoes.
5. Gather these ingredients together, then knead, knead, knead, and knead some more. The consistency has to be “just right” so “feel” the dough and stop kneading once the texture is good. If the dough is too soft, the gnocchi will lose its shape. If it’s too hard, it’ll be tough to eat. Like I said, the dough should “feel right”. Good luck!
6. Once the dough has been formed, break off small bits, and roll the dough into long dough snakes.
7. Cut 1-inch-ish pieces from the dough snakes. Flour the pieces as you go, so they don’t stick together.
8. Spread all the pieces out on a large, clean tablecloth** and sprinkle flour over top the pieces.
9. If you want to be fancy, invest in one of these inexpensive wood gnocchi rollers. Roll individual pieces of dough quickly down the wood gadget. While the gnocchi is delicious without this step, the rolled gnocchi is amazing because the newly formed ridges catch the sauce, and the little hole/space in the gnocchi holds sauce really.
10. Take a moment to step back and admire your rolling work.
11. To cook the gnocchi, boil a pot of water. Once the water is boiling, add a bunch of gnocchi. The gnocchi are ready once they float to the top of the water and the water is boiling slightly again. Scoop them out, drain them, then add them to a bowl of sauce. By rolling them around in sauce right away, the gnocchi won’t stick together.
12. When you’re ready to serve, call out “tutti a tavola” just like Lidia Bastianich (and a lot of Italian people!). The expression is Italian for “everyone to the table”, which signals to your guests that it’s time to eat, and they should hurry up so they don’t keep everyone waiting.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of the final product, but trust me, it was delicious, and the sauce worked beautifully with the rolled gnocchi.¬† (I was definitely more concerned about eating than taking photos once my plate of gnocchi was in front of me.)
*this year, there were only 6 of us, but mom must have made about 20 servings worth because a few of us like to have seconds and there’s always a bunch to share for leftovers
**The tablecloth is an essential part in our process. It might seem unusual, but it’s our tradition. The pieces might stick to a counter, but they don’t stick to a tablecloth.
Thanks, Mom, for letting me capture you in action!