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Gnocchi are at the essence of Italian cuisine. As a matter of fact, my hometown Verona has a day dedicated to this dish. Venerdì gnocolar, gnocchi Friday, is celebrated on the Friday of Carnival.
The gnocchi king comes to town and gives gnocchi to the people. It symbolises a time of famine in the Middle Ages, when the people would not have anything to eat and the lords of Verona fed them with the cheapest dish: gnocchi. Nowadays, every Veronese eats gnocchi on this merry Friday.
Gnocchi are a type of potato dumpling, featuring only a few simple ingredients. Unlike dumplings or the German Knödel, gnocchi are shaped into long sausages and then cut. The better the gnocco, the fluffier it is.
The difficulty of making this dish is the risk of getting a sticky result. This is caused by adding too much flour to the dough. The flour makes the gnocco sticky and no one likes a sticky gnocco. You need to resist temptation to add flour to the recipe and work the dough until it turns smooth, eventually.
I myself struggled with the stickiness at the beginning of making homemade gnocchi, until one day, I managed to resist temptation 😉
Here goes the original recipe. Simple and delicious. Good luck!
1 kg potatoes
300 g flour
Start by peeling the potatoes and boiling them until soft. Check with a fork if they are ready. Drain and leave to dry and cool down for about 10-15 minutes.
On a floured working surface, mash or squeeze the potatoes, add a pinch of salt and add the flour and the egg. Work well with your hand, until you get a smooth dough. Try NOT to add additional flour, because this will make the gnocchi sticky. This will take patience and trust.
Now roll out sausages of about 1.5 cm thickness. Cut each sausage into 2cm pieces.
Proceed with all of the dough. Once you have cut all your sausages, heat a pot with water and add a handful of salt.
You need a lot of salt, because this will prevent the gnocchi from sticking to one another.
Once the water is boiling, pour in a few of the gnocchi. The more you add, the higher the chance of them sticking together. Mix a few times and wait for them to rise to the surface. Once they rise to the surface, they are done. Scoop them out and place them in a serving bowl. Proceed until you have no more gnocchi to boil.
Serve with a sauce. Sauces might include: Tomato sauce, melted butter and sage, gorgonzola sauce, pesto alla genovese.
Gnocchi can also be made using spinach, pumpkin, squid ink, etc.
Do you know gnocchi? Which ones are your favourite? Let me know in the comments below!