After completing my Apprenticeship, I won the Franz-Keller Prize, which rewarded me with financial Support to further my Culinary Education. I chose to go to India and Italy.
In Italy I did a Months Work Experience at a great Restaurant, da Beppino, in Volterra, Tuscany. Marianna is the Head Chef there and she is an amazing Cook and Woman.
We made a lot of Gnocchi there and this is her amazing Recipe. It’s so delicious and worth every bit of the Time and Preparation it needs.
A few Tips when making Gnocchi! It’s best to allow enough Time so that you can follow through without any long Breaks from cooking the Potatoes, to cooking the Gnocchi. Potatoes are easiest to peel and press when they are warm, and the the Gnocchi Dough is best to work with as soon as it’s ready. If the Dough is left for a few Hours before it’s formed and cooked, it will absorb Water from the Air and become Sticky and Unmanageable.
You will need a Potato Press to get the best Results.
1 kg Floury Potatoes, weight after cooking and peeling
250 g White Flour
2 Egg Yolks
10 g Salt
Freshly Ground Nutmeg
Semola for working the Dough
Wash the Potatoes and place in a large Saucepan, still in their Skins. Cover with cold Water, and a generous sprinkle of Salt, and bring to the Boil. Cook the Potatoes until they are soft. You can test this using a Cocktail Stick or with a Knife.
When the Potatoes are ready pour them out into a Sieve, and allow them to cool slightly. After about 30 Minutes, they will still be warm but easier to handle, using a small Knife peel the Potatoes. Next press all the Potatoes through the Potato Press into a large Bowl.
Put a large Saucepan of Water on to Boil.
Add the Flour, Egg Yolk, Salt and lots of freshly ground Nutmeg and mix together. The aim is to bring the Dough into a Ball and then it’s ready to work with. Gnocchi Dough should not be over worked.
Before you start preparing all the Gnocchi, it’s always best to do a test. Once your Water is boiling, add enough Salt so that you can slightly taste it, take a small piece of Dough, about the size of a Hazelnut, and place it in the Water.
Once it swims to the Top, scoop it out with a Skimmer and try it. If it has kept it’s shape and not disintegrated, you are ready to go!
Prepare your Work Surface by dusting it with Semola, or just use Flour if you don’t have Semola to Hand. Prepare a large Tray with a dusting of Semola, and next to your Saucepan get a Sieve, with a Bowl underneath it, and another large Tray slightly oiled with Sunflower Oil.
Take a Golf Ball Size piece of Dough and roll out into a thin Sausage about 1 cm – 1 1/2 cm thick. Give the Roll a dusting of Semola. Next cut Pieces either straight or Diagonally, as I have in the Picture above, with a Knife or a Dough Scraper. Dust the Gnocchi again with Semola and then using the Dough Scraper or a Spatula, carefully scoop up the Gnocchi and place on the Tray covered with Semola.
Repeat until you have a full Tray, and then carefully place the Gnocchi into the boiling Water. I use a Fish Slice, and then allow the Gnocchi to slide down the Side of the Saucepan. This prevents from any splash back. It’s important that the Water is Boiling when you put the Gnocchi in, but that it doesn’t violently boil whilst they are in there, so you will need to keep adjusting the heat as you cook the Gnocchi.
When the Gnocchi rises to the top, scoop them out and into the Sieve. After a few Minutes remove the Gnocchi from the Sieve onto the Tray and carefully toss the Gnocchi so that they and lightly oiled. This will prevent them from sticking to each other, and they will cool quicker on a larger Surface.
Prepare and cook the Rest of the Dough.
When all the Gnocchi has been cooked, you can use straight away, leave to cool, and serve later in the day, or you could even freeze them. If you are freezing them, you will need to freeze them flat on a Tray. Once they are Frozen you can move them into a Bag or Tuppaware.
The Gnocchi can be reheated in your Sauce of choice, or you could first heat a Frying Pan, add a little Butter and Sunflower Oil, and then on a high Heat fry the Gnocchi so that they are golden brown and have a light crisp Shell. Serve with your Sauce of choice.