NONNA'S GNOCCHI

On my recent trip home, I was able to convince my Nonna to teach me how to make her infamous homemade gnocchi for a post!  Her gnocchi has been one of my favorite foods my entire life and every time I order gnocchi at an Italian restaurant, I immediately regret it after the first bite.  No matter how fancy shmancy or "genuine Italian" the restaurant is, no one's gnocchi ever compares to my Nonna's.  I'm so glad I spent the afternoon learning from the best of the best so I can pass this recipe on to my kids and my kids' kids one day... but since I don't have any yet and *knock on wood* don't plan on having any too soon, you guys will have to do for now.  Now, it is a bit of a tedious and messy process but it's a relatively simple one when you break it down and well worth the time and effort for the best gnocchi you'll ever have!

Ingredients (serves 8-10)

6 baking potatoes

Potato ricer (This is equipment, not an ingredient but it is key to the process!)

3 eggs (1 whole egg, 2 yolks)

2 cups white flour

1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Sauce

Butter, Sage & Parmesan

Tomato Sauce & Parmesan

Prep

First step is boiling the potatoes until they are soft enough to mash... this takes about 20 minutes for large baking potatoes.

Let potatoes cool enough that you don't scald your hands when handling them but don't them cool entirely because you need them malleable for ricing.  Peel potatoes, cut into quarters or slightly smaller chunks and rice them all into a pile on a non-porous, dry surface. 

Dig a little hole in the center of your pile of riced potato and pour 1 1/2 cups of flour in the middle.  Set remaining 1/2 aside to add as needed once you begin mixing.  Dig a little hole in the center of the flour and add one whole egg and the yolks of two more eggs.  Separate the yolk from the egg white using both halves of a shell over a small bowl or directly into sink.

Using your hands, begins kneading the ingredients together from the inside out.  Start in the center, combining the flour and eggs and works your way out, folding in the riced potato from the edges.  Add nutmeg and parmesan cheese into mixture as you knead until all ingredients combine to a dough-like consistency.  Add flour as needed dependent on how dry the potatoes already are.  If mixture is too dry, the dough won't stick together smoothly and will flake apart so be the judge of whether or not the remaining 1/2 is needed.

Once ingredients are thoroughly combined into your gnocchi dough, roll the dough into a long thick cylinder.

Cut small chunks off of your thick roll of dough and lightly using your fingers roll each chunk into a long thin cylinder, approximately 3/4" in diameter.

Cut these long cylinders into 1" pieces... my Nonna told me "some can be bigger, some can be smaller.  It no matter.  They're all beautiful because it's homemade, not from a machine!" so don't stress about being OCD on the shape and size of every piece!  Using a dinner fork, roll each piece across the tines with your thumb in a kind of flicking motion.  When done with the right press, the piece should hold together but one side should have indents from the tines and the other should have a relatively deep indent from your thumb.  These indentations look nice and also act as little sauce pockets so you get a decent amount of saucy goodness in every bite!

Boil these bad boys up in salted water until they float, drain and add sauce!  Heat up some tomato sauce (we used Nonna's homemade sauce, of course) or simmer butter and sage on low heat until aromatic and the sage leaves are a little crispy.  Add a generous amount of parmesan and you are good to go! Nothing fancy needed with the sauce when the gnocchi's this good, trust.  PS... Italian leftovers are the best so no need to stuff yourselves in one sitting, you can enjoy this dish for days!

Buon appetito from me and Nonna Breda!