Work with very hot potatoes.
Sprinkle flour lightly.
Do not work the dough or squeeze it or put pressure on it. You want it to be light as a feather.
Let the gnocchi rest for 30 minutes to an hour at room temperature before you cook it.
Prick slightly with a fork to create surface area for the sauce to stick onto.
In the pesto, use nuts sparingly because you want the basil to shine.
Drop one piece in boiling water to test it before you roll out and cook the whole batch.
Recipe: STEP by STEP
- Start by boiling around 2 lbs. of gold potatoes until fork tender all the way through. Do not waterlog them. They should be just cooked. Yes, you must use gold potatoes. The starch content matters here because there are no eggs.
- Drain the hot potatoes and then wearing gloves or a towel, peel them.
While the potato is still hot, press it through a ricer (or mash in a bowl until smooth) .The smaller the pieces, the better. The ricer works perfectly for this and is very inexpensive. Yes, your hands will be burning.
- Spread all the potato pieces over your work station, which can be either a large wooden board, granite counter, or parchment paper.
Sift about 1 and 1/4 C of “00”flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt over the potatoes, and start to scrape it all together into a big loose ball. Knead for only a minute or less, just enough to mound it together.
- Carefully begin to pinch off fist-sized portions and roll into a barrel shape, not pressing down but rolling gently. It should not be super wet, but more on the dry side. Add more flour sparingly to the outside to prevent sticking.
- Once it is an approximately 4- 6 inch wide by 3 inch tall oblong barrel(does not have to be exact), slice it into a few pieces and roll each piece into a long, skinny rope, again, taking care not to smash down. Add flour if too sticky but use sparingly.
Once you have it in ropes approx. 1 inch diameter, chop into 1 inch by 1 inch pieces. Indent each with a fork on the front by pushing it against your finger on the back.
- Sift all pieces with flour and then shake it up with the flour in a bowl until completely dusted. Shake off excess flour.
Let rest 30 minutes to an hour.
- Pesto is traditionally made from pine nuts, basil, parmigiano reggiano, garlic, and olive oil. No pine nuts? Use walnuts! No basil? Use spinach! No parmesan? Use another hard cheese!
No olive oil? A MUST.
- Start by whirling 3-4 cloves garlic in the food processor, then adding 1/4 C pine nuts, a 1/2 C parmesan cheese, and finally 3-4 Cups of fresh basil. Slowly drizzle in at least a 1/2 C of good extra-virgin olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Set pesto aside.
- Boil a pot of water and let it come to a full rolling boil.
- Drop 1 gnocchi into the water to test. When it floats to the top, take it off immediately and taste. Drop a batch of gnocchi into the boiling water. When pieces float to the top, take them off immediately.
Continue to cook in small batches in the boiling water.Store in the fridge tossed in olive oil for up to 2 days. Serve immediately atop the fresh pesto.