“Simple” Potato Gnocchi

Oh, Martha. I should know better. The word “simple” is rarely used appropriately in your magazines. I was sucked in at the idea of “simple” gnocchi. I made gnocchi once a few years ago, for a family party. It took forever, and I wasn’t happy with it. Why did I think this would be different?

It was a crummy day here in Marthaland to begin with. The rider mower was broken again, so Mr. MarthaAndMe was push mowing the lawn, something that makes him (and thus everyone else) cranky. I was coming down with a cold. Teen Martha was in that icky weekend before school starts place. There wasn’t a good vibe to be found in the house. That didn’t stop me though. Gnocchi, why everyone loves gnocchi, I thought. Someone has got to stop me in the future.

It started out simply enough – cook 2 1/2 lb potatoes then peel the skins off and put through a ricer. I don’t have a ricer, so I googled what to do and it just said to mash with a masher then whisk. The whisking part did not work (it all got stuck in the whisk). Cool, then add salt, 1 and 3/4 cup flour and 1 egg. Knead until smooth but not elastic. This actually worked pretty well. Then you’re supposed to cut into 8 pieces and roll each out to a 24 inch long rope. I did this. Then cut it into 1/2 inch pieces. This was harder since the dough was kind of sticky when cut. Then roll it down the back of a fork. Ha! This didn’t work. It would stick to the fork, become odd-shaped, or get no indent at all. Flouring the fork helped, but did not solve it. Drop in boiling water and cook until they float. I did that too.

Making all of them took quite a while and the next morning I had weird muscle soreness in the backs of my arms from this.

I made a sauce of bacon, drippings, salt, pepper, 6 scallions, some Italian herbs and lots of parmesan cheese.

There was just one problem. The gnocchi were really soft. Mushy really. I tried browning them a bit and that made no difference. I usually buy my gnocchi frozen and boil them and they are slightly chewy, which is a texture I really like. I couldn’t get past the mushiness of these. And they didn’t taste any better or different than the ones I buy frozen. So, I vow never to make my own again. It took all afternoon and just made me cranky.

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15 Responses to “Simple” Potato Gnocchi

  1. debbie says:

    How frustrating, to put so much effort into something and be disappointed in the results. I don’t have a ricer either, but the hack I learned was to pass the taters through a mesh strainer. Worked like a charm!

  2. marthaandme says:

    I’ve tried that in the past too. I still wish I could figure out how to make the gnocchi a little chewier. Cooking it longer does not help. Maybe it needs to be roasted in the oven and dry out a bit?

  3. We’ve been having negative vibes floating around here for awhile too. Here’s hoping, for both of our sakes, that everyone (including us) loses the grumps! 🙂

  4. marthaandme says:

    Back at you! I feel like things will change once we’re back to school and the weather breaks. Fall is usually a very good time around here.

  5. I’ve had the same problem. Great success with pasta and ravioli, but not with gnocchi!

  6. Alene says:

    What a project!! I don’t love love gnocchi. I was not moved to try the recipe when I saw it, and now especially not the way that you’ve described it. Eeuww!
    However, I do have a ricer (bought it at Sur La Table a few years ago, and I’ve used it twice!!!). So, if you want to borrow it,you’re welcome to it!

  7. marthaandme says:

    Ha! Thanks. Wish I’d known.

  8. marthaandme says:

    I wonder why. It’s really bothering me!

  9. Oh Brette! I would have to be in a place of ‘zen’ to even attempt it. I know when I am going to fail, and Martha’s Gnocchi would certainly be a failure in the Singer household! It was a very funny post though!

  10. marthaandme says:

    It doesn’t sound like it should be an automatic failure though! Mix some potato with flour, roll it out and boil it. I mean. that doesn’t sound too complicated does it? I don’t know, it was a pretty big disaster though. What’s funny is everyone else said they didn’t mind that it was mushy, but I was practically in tears over it after spending all that time.

  11. Barb says:

    Note to self: Don’t make anything simple.
    I did gnocchi once.

    Once. I think that was enough. Although just today I said I might try “gnudi”–gnocchi made with ricotta instead of potatoes.

    How hard can it be? Right? ….Right???

  12. marthaandme says:

    Ughhhh! Hope it works out!

  13. sarah henry says:

    I love gnocchi as much as the next gal, but only when it’s absolutely melt-in-your mouth perfect. I’ve had that experience, once, at Zuni Cafe years ago, a meal my ex-hubbie and I still swoon about.

    I’ve always felt a bit like a drug addict since that adventure with gnocchi: Constantly on the search for another perfect fix, but never actually coming close, no matter how hard I try. Still, this is a dish I leave to the pros, many of whom disappoint.

  14. marthaandme says:

    That sounds like a wonderful meal. I have a gallery of perfect meals experienced in my mind as well and nothing ever lives up to them!

  15. Kerry says:

    I’ve never tried making gnocchi, but been curious about it.

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