If you are not familiar with gnocchi, it is easy to prepare and if you are a noodle lover, this is basically a noodle type dumpling that uses a potato base dough. It is really delicious and now that we have learned this from our cooking course at ‘in Tavola‘ cooking school here in Florence, Italy, we plan to make them often.
- 1 kg of white potatoes
- 90 g. all purpose flour
- 40 g. cornstarch
- 30 g. durum-wheat flour
- 2 egg yolks
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and dry the potatoes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and with a think layer of course salt. Place the whole washed potatoes onto the sheet and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 45-50 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes until baked through. Boiling the potatoes starting in cold water also works well.
- Remove the potatoes from the oven or pot and let cool completely. They must be cool to proceed as the gnocchi dough does not turn out well if you use warm. Peel the skin off the potatoes and using a ricer, mash the potatoes into a stainless steel bowl.
- Incorporate the remaining ingredients into the potatoes and knead the potato dough very quickly so that it does not become sticky. Add flour as needed, but if the dough is already a good consistency do no add to much. Knead then roll into a long thick log, pulling up the sides of the log and kneading and rolling again and again until you can see the dough is smooth.
- Divide the dough into sections and roll each section into logs about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Cut each log into pieces about 3/4 inch long and roll slightly in your hand. Place them all onto a flat surface. This was as far as we went in the class with the preparation method although you could make little indentations on each piece by pressing a fork onto them. This apparently holds the sauce onto the cooked gnocchi better, but it is not necessary and not really done in this region. Lightly flour gnocchi balls so they do not stick together.
- Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add the gnocchi in small batches and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then using a slotted spoon or skimming ladle, remove the gnocchi to a glass or stainless steel bowl (not plastic) and continue until all are cooked. Serve immediately with a sauce of your choice. We are going to give you two sauce alternatives that we also learned. We also cooked two different sauces, (simple tomato & a meat sauce) which we will post the recipes for as well in another post.
Florence was a busy city and there was many beautiful sites to see. We spent many hours wandering and taking in all that we could during the 4 days we spent there.
There are several bridges and in fact the most famous is called Ponte Vecchio. “Built very close to the Roman crossing, the Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, was until 1218 the only bridge across the Arno in Florence. The current bridge was rebuilt after a flood in 1345. During World War II it was the only bridge across the Arno that the fleeing Germans did not destroy. Instead they blocked access by demolishing the medieval buildings on each side. On November 4, 1966, the bridge miraculously withstood the tremendous weight of water and silt when the Arno once again burst its banks.” Please refer to the live link just above to learn more.