Baked gnocchi parmigiana
- 1 h 55 min
- Kcal 1152
Gnocchi is the king of Thursday lunches, at least in Rome and in some regions of central Italy. So simple yet tricky to get the right consistency. There are in fact several tricks to keep in mind to succeed, those that only grandmothers know. We had the secrets for perfect gnocchi whispered to our ears and ... since we are not jealous of our recipes, we thought we would share them with you! Find out how to prepare potato gnocchi with and without eggs, soft pads with a delicate flavor, perfect with any sauce: from the classic Sorrentina sauce to the delicate and creamy ones like stracchino and spinach, to the more rustic ones like four cheese gnocchi or with speck and nuts.
To prepare potato gnocchi, start by boiling the potatoes. Arrange the potatoes in a large pot and cover with plenty of cold water 1. From the moment the water starts boiling, count about 30-40 minutes, depending on their size. Try the fork test and if the tines enter without difficulty then you can drain the potatoes. While still hot, mash the potatoes on the flour that you have sifted on the pastry board in a fountain shape 2; there will be no need to peel the potatoes because the peel will remain inside the potato masher. Then add the lightly beaten egg together with a pinch of salt 3.
Mix everything with your hands 4 until you get a soft but compact dough 5. Remember that if you knead it too much, the gnocchi will become hard during cooking, so just knead the time necessary. Take a part of the dough and roll it out with your fingertips to get 0.8 inches (2 cm) thick loaves 6; to do this, help yourself by sprinkling some semolina flour on the work surface from time to time. Meanwhile, cover the remaining dough with a towel to prevent it from drying out.
Cut the loaves into chunks 7 and, by pressing lightly with your thumb, drag them onto the rigagnocchi board to obtain the classic shape 8. If you don't have the one, you can use a fork and drag them on the tines. Use semolina flour to prevent them from sticking together. As you prepare the potato gnocchi, arrange them on a tray with a lightly floured cloth, well spaced from each other 9. If you intend to cook them, you can pour them a few at a time into boiling salted water; as soon as they come to the surface, the gnocchi are cooked and ready to be drained and seasoned.
Mash the potatoes on a work surface while still hot, with the help of a potato masher, add the flour and salt 1 and knead with your hands 2 to obtain a soft but compact dough 3.
Take one portion of the dough at a time and roll it out with your fingertips to form loaves of 0.8 inches (2 cm) thickness 4. Cut the loaves into chunks 5 and pass each piece of dough on a rigagnocchi board or on the tines of a fork, pressing lightly with your thumb 6. Cook the egg-free gnocchi in plenty of boiling salted water and drain as soon as they come to the surface.
You can keep the raw potato gnocchi on a cloth for a couple of hours at the most. In this case you will need to cook them slightly longer because they will have dried a bit more.
You can also freeze them, in this case put the tray in the freezer and after about 20 minutes put the potato gnocchi in a food bag, and put back in the freezer. To cook them, simply throw them in boiling salted water without defrosting them first.
Color, color, color ... if you want to make your potato gnocchi more special, use coloring ingredients such as turmeric for a yellowish color or a touch of tomato paste. If you prefer a more noir style: gnocchi with cuttlefish ink!
What is the secret for perfect gnocchi? It is all about the potatoes! The red ones are perfect but the mountain ones or the aged ones will also be fine ... the important thing is that they are not new potatoes because they contain too much water. In short, the ideal potatoes are rich in starch and low in water so they need less flour to be mixed with.
If you don't have a potato masher you can peel the potatoes and mash them with a fork!
Gnocchi is perhaps the first homemade type of pasta. They were described as we know them (meaning with potatoes), only from the second half of the 1700s, as they were originally prepared only with water and flour, and were torn by hand and then cooked.