Tonight I attempted something I've never made before. Now this normally isn't a big deal, I'm a big food experimenter and usually new events in the kitchen don't worry me. This time though I was kind of nervous, I had a few people tell me how difficult it is and after reading a few posts around and about the Internet I wasn't feeling quite 100% certain.
It turns out it wasn't as difficult as it sounded. First off, baking your potatoes correctly is an important step. Make sure you pierce them almost all the way through multiple times and bake them at at least 400 degrees. This way you will get drier potatoes which is really important. I baked mine at 425 for about an hour. The came out almost the right texture.
Once you have them out of the oven you should immediately cut them in half and spoon the inner portion of the potato out. Using a ricer or a collander, rice the potatoes into a large bowl. I baked about 12 potatoes and added about 1 1/2 cups of flour to the riced potatoes. The recipe I was using also called for about a teaspoon of nutmeg. I didn't really notice this when I was eating the gnocchi, but it didn't hurt anything.
Mix all this up well in your bowl and then turn it out onto a work surface. By this time they should be cooled down enough to handle. You basically want to knead the dough until everything is smooth and incorporated. I think I kneaded for about 5 minutes or so. The dough should not be sticky.
To make the gnocchi you want to roll it out into 1/4 inch rolls and then cut the strips into 1/4 inch pieces. Then you roll them against a fork to put a dimple on one side and tine marks on the other. This is time consuming and got a little frustrating, but it was worth it.
The important part is testing the gnocchi, you want to boil some water and then cook 2-3 pieces at a time to test the consistency. I had to add a little more flour as they seemed a little too soft initially and you want them to be a bit chewy. This is where you can perfect the texture. You could also add some egg if you want to make it more wheat pasta like.
I cooked my gnocchi two ways. I boiled some of it, it takes about 2-3 minutes and should end up floating. Make sure you salt the water, it makes a big difference in the flavor. I also pan fried some and this was fantastic. Put a little olive oil in a fry pan, heat it over medium high heat and then throw the gnocchi into the oil. Toss it until it's browned. These turned out crispy on the outside and soft inside. Quite tasty.
I served them with butter and a little parmesean and mozzarella cheese. The boiled version could have used a sauce, but the pan fried were excellent. Even Ninja wanted some, she even put a napkin on to try and convince me to feed her.
Overall I call my first attempt at gnocchi a success. Now if I can just get the pronunciation right.