This recipe has been adapted from Google Chef Charlie Ayer's Cafe Calafia Café / Calafia Market a Go Go. Cooking the potatoes on rock salt makes the potatoes dry which makes fluffy, delectable gnocchi.
Course Dinner, Holiday, Main Course, Meal Prep, Side Dish
3lbsrusset potatoes other potatoes will work, but you may want to switch to bread flour if you use anything else
1 - 1 ½cupsall-purpose organic flour, plus more for dusting
1TBSPtablespoon olive oil
1teaspoonoptional Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with rock salt. Cut a few 1" - 2" side vents into each of the potatoes. If you are using large russet potatoes, cut four to five side vent into each potato. You will be halving the potatoes lengthwise after baking and you can use your vents as guides for cutting.
Place the potatoes on the rock salt-lined baking sheet. Bake until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Remove potatoes from the oven and halve lengthwise.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. (I use an 8-quart stockpot and fill it most of the way with water.) Add a bit of salt to the water. I use an induction stove that boils water very quickly, so I usually wait until I am mostly done making the dough to start boiling the water. However, this is the point where I fill and salt the pot and place it on the stove.
Let the potatoes cool enough to handle, but don't let them cool completely. You want them to be as warm as possible while being able to handle them. Pull the skins off or scoop the potato meat out with a spoon, rubbing the skin to get all of the potato insides out. Let the potato insides drop into a large bowl. Discard the skins or save them to eat.
Mash the potatoes with a fork or whisk. If you have a ricer you can run them through the ricer like The Google Chef. I don’t have a ricer so I've never done that. Add 1 TBSP olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper while mashing. If the potatoes have cooled and aren't mashing well you can pop them in the microwave.
Add the flour to the mashed potatoes in 1/4 cup intervals, using your hands to work the flour in with each addition. Mash any remaining potato chunks with your fingers as you knead the dough. You want to use as little flour as possible to achieve a nice ball of dough.
Once you suspect you have the right dough consistency for the gnocchi to float, tear off a few tiny pieces, roll them into balls, and drop them into the boiling water. If they rise to the top without falling apart, that's good, but you still want to taste it. It may take a few minutes for the dough to float. To taste them, remove from the boiling water with a strainer or slotted spoon and set them on a cutting board for a few seconds letting them dry off. If they taste gummy, add flour to the dough by the tablespoon until you get a firmer dough.
When you are happy with the consistency, roll the gnocchi into a rope about 3/4" wide and cut into approximately 1" pieces. If you are pan-searing the gnocchi don't make indentations with a fork because you will get a better sear on the gnocchi if it is flat.
As you cut the gnocchi, you can lower it into the big pot of water using a strainer or slotted spoon. Even at a low boil, the gnocchi will float. The time the gnocchi takes to float varies, it usually doesn’t float straight away though. Sometimes, the gnocchi takes a few minutes to float. The beauty of gnocchi is that it floats when it’s done, on its own timeline. Keep adding the newly cut gnocchi and removing the floating gnocchi, placing it on a cutting board. Try to keep the gnocchi from touching each other when you place it on the cutting board. Alternatively, you can cut all of the gnocchi and then start placing it in the pot in batches.
You can now freeze and store the gnocchi or make them into whichever dish you have in mind. If you are pan-searing you don't need to thaw the frozen gnocchi, just pan-sear it while it's frozen. If freezing, layer in an airtight container, placing the gnocchi so that it is not touching each other on pieces of parchment paper.
Nutrition information is approximate. Gnocchi can be frozen for 1 to 2 months. In the New York Times, I once read that you are supposed to salt your water heavily and not include salt in the gnocchi dough if you want to do it the old school way. I find that including the salt in the gnocchi helps produce positive and consistent results.Also, some recipes state the importance of freezing the gnocchi before floating. I have frozen the gnocchi before floating, not frozen the gnocchi at all, and frozen the gnocchi after floating. It was all good. My preference is to freeze after floating mainly because I always pan-sear the gnocchi. That same New York Times writer also prefers cooked and then frozen after experimenting. If I weren't pan-searing the gnocchi. I would freeze it without floating it first so that I could just place it in boiling water, float it, and serve it. www.planttestkitchen.com