Today, very unexpectedly, I learnt how to make the perfect gnocchi – so happy! My previous attempts to make them from scratch were quite spectacular failures – the gnocchi tasted more like boiled bread and were way too dense. Now I know: the trick is to used baked potatoes, not boiled ones. Baking apparently dries them out sufficiently for the dough not to become gooey. And, second lesson learnt: eggs are not even necessary – potatoes, flour and salt are all it takes to produce perfectly tender and yet firm little gnocchi. They would taste great with all kinds of sauces of course but I chose to keep it simple with some fresh herbs and olive oil – see below.
Potato gnocchi with fresh herbs (vegan)
- Half a kilo of potatoes
- A bit of flour - I'd say about 50 grams, or a little less than two ounces
- A little salt to taste
- A good handful of fresh herbs, basil, parsley, etc, finely chopped
- About four tablespoons of olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Wash the potatoes and bake them in the oven (whole) for about 45 minutes or one hour (depending on their size) at 200 degrees Celcius (400 degrees F). When they are done (you can test with a fork if they are already soft) let them cool off for a little while, then cut them in half and scoop or squeeze the flesh into a bowl. Discard the skins or set aside to use elsewhere.
- Fold a little flour into the potato mix, adding more until you have a smooth but still crumbly dough. Season with a pinch of salt. Form thin rolls with your hands on a flour-dusted cutting board, then cut them into bite size pieces. Dust them with a little more flour. Heat up two table spoons of olive oil in a pan and add the chopped herbs. After two minutes or so, transfer them to a bowl and set aside. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the same pan and set it on medium heat.
- Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a large pot. As soon as it starts simmering, carefully drop the gnocchi inside with a slotted spoon. You may have to do this in batches; they should have quite a bit of space when cooking. As soon as they start swimming on the surface (after about two or three minutes), take them out (with a slotted spoon again) and transfer them straight into the pan, where the oil should be close to sizzling right now. Roast them for about a minute or two on each side, until they are lightly browned.
- Place the gnocchi on plates or a serving platter and drizzle with the fresh herb- olive oil mix.