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Friday, November 1, 2013

Homemade Potato Gnocchi - how to make gnocchi with chef Mama Isa

Homemade Gnocchi - how to make the best potato gnocchi

Mama Isa presents how to make gnocchi- She shares her Sweet Potato Gnocchi Dumplings Recipe

Mama Isa's Gnocchi: 

The original and traditional gnocchi (pronounced NYOH-kee), is always totally homemade, by hand, and served with a easy but tasty tomato sauce. The meaning of "gnocchi" is little dumplings. Like many of the best recipes for classic dishes, Mama Isa's gnocchi recipe came from her Italian nonna Grandma! Nonna's Isa taught her how to make the perfect "gnocchi di patate".

Gnocchi dough contains in its simplest form just 1 kilo of potato (in Italy we call the best potatoes for gnocchi "patate da gnocchi", or older potatoes, or Jukon Gold or Idaho or other Russet baking potatoes), 00 flour (for 1 kilo of potato, about 200 - 250 g of farina di grano tenero 00, soft as talcum powder),  egg (1 egg per kilo), and salt to taste. Exactly how much flour 00 to use is where judgment comes into play. It all depends on the water content of the potatoes, which varies very very significantly!!! Make a great potato loaf can take a person years to master! But now Mama Isa offers gnocchi making class!

INGREDIENTS
1 kg of potatoes
200-250 g of Flour 00
1 organic egg
semolina flour, for dusting the board at the end

TECHNIQUE: Gnocchi dough is made by combining boiled potato, wheat flour 00 for absorbing moisture and providing gluten (and gluten is so important), and 1 egg per kilo of potato to add richness and help bind the gnocchi dough together.  Please don't knead the dough a lot, because it means having to add more wheat flour 00 (so at the end the gnocchi are not fluffly and tender, but heavy).
Boil the potatoes in salted water, but don't peel them. When the potatoes are tender, drain and rice the potatoes with a potato ricer (in Italy we have a special tool, "passapatate"). Let them cool in a bowl.
Special potato ricer for making gnocchi called passapatate in Italy by Mama Isa
This is the "passapatate", a special potato ricer for making gnocchi


Add the flour, egg and salt to taste. It's time to make the gnocchi dough. Working quickly the potato dough, distribute the potato dough evenly across your work wooden surface, then drizzle with just a litte more flour 00.
Potato Gnocchi at Mama Isa's Cooking Classes in Italy near Venice
Potato Gnocchi - recipe of the day by the Chef Mama Isa


The gnocchi dough should be elastic, but not gummy! Make a big potato roll dough as dense as possible using your hands. Working with one section at a time, roll the gnocchi dough into a log about 2-3 cm thick.
Homemade Gnocchi at Mama Isa's Cooking Classes in Italy near Venice
Potato Gnocchi at Mama Isa's Cooking Classes in Italy near Venice
Potato Gnocchi handrolled at Mama Isa's Cooking Classes near Venice Italy
Potato Gnocchi with the Chef Mama Isa
Handmade Gnocchi with the Chef Mama Isa
Potato Gnocchi with the Chef Mama Isa

It is hard to control the gnocchi dough when rolled in a thin cigar. Keep in mind that you need to work through the rolling process fast, fast, fast. Use your pasta spatula cutter to divide it into 2-cm-long pieces. And there's your gnocchi.


Many famous chefs like to shape their potato gnocchi dumplings using a fork, but the traditional way to shape the gnocchi potato in Veneto region, Italy (where the gnocchi was born!) is using a parmesan grater. So the Chef Mama Isa learn how to make the gnocchi in this way. The proper texture of a gnocchi is to roll every gnocchi on the back of a hand parmesan grater sprinkled with flour 00 and indent it a little with your thumb: this way is hard and difficult, but funny. And the gnocchi will be better, not only for the presentation but for the sauce!
Handrolled Potatoes Gnocchi recipe courtesy of Mama Isa
Potato Gnocchi at Mama Isa's Cooking Classes in Italy near Venice

Potato Gnocchi at Mama Isa's Cooking Classes in Italy near Venice
Potatoes Gnocchi with the Chef Mama Isa

Potato Gnocchi at Mama Isa's Cooking Classes in Italy near Venice
Potato Gnocchi at Mama Isa's Cooking Classes in Italy near Venice
Place the gnocchi onto a tray or onto a wooden board floured with semolina flour, leaving a space between each piece to prevent them from sticking together.
Handmade Potatoes Gnocchi with the Chef Mama Isa
Potato Gnocchi at Mama Isa's Cooking Classes in Italy near Venice

Bring a pasta pot with salted water.
Place over a high heat, put on the lid, and bring to the boil. "Il momento della verità" (=the moment of truth) arrives when you cook your gnocchi!
When the water boils, put the gnocchi from the tray into the boiling water.  Leave to cook, until the gnocchi float and to reach the surface: now they are done. Transfer it to a colander.

Potato Gnocchi at Mama Isa's Cooking Classes in Italy near Venice
Potatoes Gnocchi with the Chef Mama Isa

Potato Gnocchi from scratch
Potato Gnocchi at Mama Isa's Cooking Classes in Italy near Venice

Potato Gnocchi homemade with the Chef Mama Isa
Potato Gnocchi at Mama Isa's Cooking Classes in Italy near Venice

Be prepared that your gnocchi may not come out "perfetto" (=perfect) the first time!!! In fact, they probably won't. Keep trying. Homemade Potato Gnocchi take patience, but they're worth it! If the gnocchi fall apart or appear to be fraying at the edges, it can mean one of 2 things: you let gnocchi cook for too long or you didn't combine the potato and flour 00 into true gnocchi dough!!!
Now stir the gnocchi into a warm sauce of your choice.    
 
Potato Gnocchi at Mama Isa's Cooking School
Potato Gnocchi at Mama Isa's Cooking Classes in Italy near Venice
Be prepared that your gnocchi may not come out "perfetto" (=perfect) the first time!!! In fact, they probably won't. Keep trying. Homemade Potato Gnocchi take patience, but they're worth it!



And if you learn how to make delicious gnocchi, take a cooking class in Italy with Mama Isa!

http://isacookinpadua.altervista.org/ or become Mama Isa's fan http://www.facebook.com/cookingclassesvenice

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