Learn some tips for making perfectly light gnocchi from Italian chefs.
Our Italy tours this season included several cooking classes. After our walking tour in Venice we cooked fresh seafood straight from the Adriatic. In the town of Bolzano, after a day cycling down the Sudtirol Wine Road surrounded by the Dolomites and Alps, we cooked fresh mushrooms and white asparagus. One very special class was a collaboration between myself and an Italian chef, Chef Michael Seehauser in Bolzano.
Throughout the tours, our Italian chefs shared their recipes and techniques for making gnocchi. I’ve developed my own methods for insuring light and tender gnocchi, but learned some new techniques from Chef Michael.
Chef Michael emphasized the proper choice of potato, something starchy like our russet potatoes is preferable. He peeled, then boiled them until tender, riced them while still warm, then places them in the refrigerator overnight. This allows them to dry out quite a bit. We both agreed the secret to tender, light gnocchi is to use as little flour as possible.
Chef Michael also recommends mixing in the eggs and salt in before adding the flour. He believes this allows the salt to be better distributed in the dough. He then adds nutmeg. I had just seen another chef add nutmeg to his gnocchi the week before, and it was just a few scrapes on the grater. Chef Michael added much more, probably close to 1/2 teaspoon or so. I liked the addition of the nutmeg, but will probably adjust the amount I add according to the final recipe – a sauce with some earthy flavors might bear more nutmeg, while something light and fresh I’d add a bit less.
Chef Michael’s tips:
- Use a starchy potato
- Rice when warm, so you don’t get mushy gnocchi
- Allow to cool, preferably overnight to insure they are as dry as possible.
- Add the egg yolks and salt before the flour, as the salt will better mix into the potatoes
- Add a lot of nutmeg
Once you make the gnocchi, here are some of my favorite recipes to use them in.Print
Kathy Bechtel’s obsession with food and cooking began as a teenager. After years following a traditional career path as a telecommunications engineer, she left to attend culinary school and wine training, and is now combining her passions for food and wine, the outdoors, and travel as owner and Culinary Tour Director of Italiaoutdoors. In this role, Kathy leads small bicycle, skiing and walking tours that explore the authentic regional cuisines, local products and undiscovered wines of Northeastern Italy.