I did some research on recipes and figured that Mario Batali probably knew what he was doing. Besides, his parents have a deli in Seattle and he used to live in Italy - his recipes carry street cred. I decided to use this basic gnocchi recipe, which you can find here.
Fast forward about a half hour... I've peeled, cut up, boiled, drained...
and riced the potatoes.
And then I realized... that's a LOT of potatoes. To give you some scale, these tiles are 4"x4".
I ran back to the computer and checked out Mario's serving size. Double crap: his recipe served 12 but with my additions, it would serve more like 16. Gnocchi dough? More like gnocchi... DOH!
I had to split the potatoes in half in order to work with them.
Seriously, I must have had my head up my butt that day. The recipe clearly calls for oil, which you may notice is absent from the above photo. I made the gnocchi without oil and they were fine but still: it was obviously amateur day in my kitchen.
By the way, that ceramic thing on the right that looks like a motorcycle helmet is a French main a sel (salt pig/cellar), which I bought in Brittany in 2000. I love it and the memories it evokes. When I bought it I also bought 2 kilos (nearly 5 pounds) of French grey salt for some piddly amount like $3. Do you have or use a salt cellar? Once you get used to it you'll never go back.
Back to the gnocchi... The mixing & kneading portion of this program is brought to you by... NOBODY! It's too sticky and goopy and messy, so no photos.
After kneading the dough I separated it into balls and used this plastic thingy to cut it into smaller sections. I rolled them out into snakes and cut those into the final dumplings.
At this point you can leave them as-is or run them over the tines of a fork to give them the characteristic lines of gnocchi.
Here's the best video I could find of the shaping process:
Start to finish the entire process of making gnocchi took roughly 2 hours.
Did I mention this makes a lot of gnocchi?
This made so many gnocchi that I placed them on silpats & froze them on cookie sheets. After they were frozen I threw them into a zip-top bag and returned them to the freezer. We ate gnocchi for quite a few meals, quite possibly more than 16. These are very filling and hearty. I think they'd last a couple of months in the freezer but no longer.
To cook these gnocchi, simply bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the desired amount. When the gnocchi flloat - about a minute - scoop them out with a slotted spoon. Top with your favorite pasta sauce and VOILA gnocchi!
Why did I make gnocchi?
First, I was curious. Could I do it? Would they taste good?
Second, they were cheap to make. The potatoes were from my garden, as were the eggs. Flour and salt are both cheap. And since I forgot the oil they were even cheaper! Gnocchi are kinda pricey at the store.
Finally, they provided a starch that was local. Many of the dark days challenge dishes I've wanted to make were better with pasta. With homemade gnocchi I could confidently say that yes, this starch was local.
I'll definitely make gnocchi again. Like I said, we ate them for a long time and they were delicious and filling. Next time I think I'll enlist the hubbie to help with shaping the pasta, which was the longest part of the process.
I'll post next about how we ate the gnocchi!