Potato gnocchi are a basic preparation of Italian cuisine: seasoned with a tomato sauce, baked in the oven with cheese or flavored with butter and sage, gnocchi are always good! Preparing them is really simple: potatoes, flour, a little manual skill and you're done. To have perfect gnocchi, however, we must be careful not to make any mistakes.
Flour: how much?
Potato gnocchi need flour and potatoes: but what is the right proportion? If you overdo it with flour, your gnocchi will be too hard, if you put too little they will break during cooking. The rule says that the flour must be at most a third of the amount of potatoes.
As in all recipes, also in the case of gnocchi, the timing is important: before adding the flour to the potatoes, make sure that they are not hot but warm. When the potatoes are hot, in fact they absorb the flour more easily and this factor could deceive you making you exaggerate with the quantities.
What potatoes to use?
To prepare good and well-cooked gnocchi, use white-fleshed potatoes which must be old: they are the most floury and with a greater quantity of starch and these elements make them the best for this preparation.
Cook the potatoes
The potatoes must be boiled before adding them to the flour, also in this case the recipe has its tips: dip the potatoes in cold water and put them on the stove, start counting time only when the water has started to boil. Your potatoes will have to boil for 25/30 minutes but to be really safe use a knife: if it crosses the potatoes from side to side then they are ready!
The potatoes will have to boil in their skins: do not peel them first. In this way they will absorb less water and your gnocchi will keep cooking better.
Knead yes, but how much?
Be careful not to overwork your dough thus running the risk that the gluten present in the flour will activate and your gnocchi will not cook well.
Eggs? No thanks.
Egg is a very thickening ingredient and often used in preparations, in this case however it is not necessary to add it to the other ingredients, if the proportions between flour and potatoes are right, the dough will already be sufficiently compact and soft at the same time.
When do I cook them?
To prepare perfect gnocchi, the tip is to cook them freshly prepared without letting too much time pass, otherwise the advice is to place them on a well floured and spaced wooden surface, covered with a cotton cloth.
Let’s always do a test
To be really sure that your gnocchi cook well without breaking into the water, first try a couple of gnocchi. If they keep cooking then your dough is perfect, if instead they break then add some flour to the dough.
Careful with the pan
To prevent the gnocchi from breaking when you add them to the sauce in a pan, turn them over a low heat and slowly with a wooden spoon, in this way they will absorb the flavor without breaking or sticking together.