I must make gnocchi from scratch as I just can’t stand store-bought gnocchi. It also doesn’t require much equipment to get good results either. However, it does require a fair bit of time so if you are short of time, you could just use the store-bought gnocchi.
In making gnocchi, I found best results with baking potatoes (as opposed to boiling) as it retains less moisture, which means you use less flour. The less flour you use, the more ‘pillowy’ the gnocchi. However, too little flour and it becomes sludge! The perfect dough is soft and malleable but holds its shape – so use more or less flour based on that consistency. In many ways, it is about the ‘feel’ of the dough.
Prep time 1.5 hours
Cook time 30 mins
800g potatoes (brushed)
1 egg, lightly whisked
2 cups plain flour plus more for dusting
600g mixed mushrooms (cup, porcini, swiss brown, etc.), sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
125ml white wine
80ml vegetable stock (or reserved mushroom water if using dried mushrooms)
few sprigs of herbs of choice (i.e. thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley, etc.)
Grated parmesan cheese
In terms of the sequence of preparation, I would suggest that you form the gnocchi first but leave the boiling of the dumplings until after you have made the medley. So first, we make the gnocchi as follows.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Wash the potatoes, making sure they are relatively similar in size so they would cook evenly. I tend to use potatoes that are the size of my fist as they tend to cook in a reasonable timeframe. Prick a few holes in the potatoes, salt them and bake them in the oven for an hour or until they are soft.
While it is still warm, peel the potatoes and mash with a fork or a ricer. Don’t over-mash as you are not looking for a starchy mess, you are looking for some grainy, airy potato pieces. Place on to a floured surface, add the egg and flour and gently form into a dough, taking care not to knead it excessively.
Take a quarter of the dough and roll into a strand about the thickness of your thumb and cut into 1.5cm pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and gently roll across an upturned fork to shape into a gnocchi and place onto some baking paper. Repeat with the remainder of the dough. Cover the gnocchi dumplings with a tea towel so they don’t dry out and set aside until ready to cook.
In a large pan, heat the butter and oil and sautee the onion and garlic until softened. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until they have started to sweat and brown. Add the herbs, white wine and vegetable stock and simmer for a couple of minutes and set aside.
Bring a pot of water to boil and add a generous amount of salt. Boil the gnocchi and strain out as soon as they float to the top.
Mix the gnocchi in the pan of mushroom sauce and serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.