Gnocchi alla Piemontese are also known as “gnocchi di patate”.
gnocchi are a type of pasta. The name can also indicate a pasta shape or a different kind altogether. You’ll know from the name of the recipe.
There is another type made from semolina. They are called “Gnocchi alla Romana” although some may attribute the origin to Piemonte for the abundant use of butter and parmesan.
Gnocchi alla Piemontese: the preparation
Gnocchi are simply mashed potatoes made in a dough with the help of some flour, briefly shaped in thin long cylinders about 3/4 of an inch thick which are cut in small sections of about one inch. If a decoration is wanted, the dough can be run pressed gently on top of a fork. That will create small grooves that will also help for the sauce to stick.
In gnocchi alla piemontese potatoes must be boiled whole with the skin in salty water, about 30 minutes depending on sizes, then peeled still warm, so they can be easily mashed. Use a potato ricer or a potato masher. Then mix the mashed potatoes with flour. Make long cylinders and cut in small pieces.
Flour should not be excessive, just enough to absorb the dampness of the warm potatoes. Also work the dough quickly. A long process will make gnocchi too soft.
When my mother came to visit in America, she made gnocchi for us one day, but she had a problem. The potatoes resulted too watery. She kept and kept adding flour to have a manageable dough and the gnocchi didn’t come out as good.
I tried myself a few times switching to different kind of potatoes, but had the same problem. Of course I made sure not to overcook the potatoes.
I found out later that the trick to overcome the problem is by adding eggs. Some even suggest baking the potatoes. Those tricks are not called for and not necessary with the right kind of potatoes.
After the cutting the dough thin cylinders in small segments, spread and dust the gnocchi with flour to prevent them from sticking. They are ready to cook.
Cook gnocchi in salted water like you would for spaghetti. They cook in 2-3 minutes. You’ll know they are done when they float on the water.
Gnocchi alla Piemontese can be served with just butter and grated parmesan. But generally, especially in central and south Italy they are married with a rich meat sauce. Or use a sauce of your liking.
Ingredients for 4 people:
- 2 pounds potatoes
- 3/4 cup flour
Note: you can buy gnocchi at supermarkets, but they don’t taste as good as the homemade. Do not overcook or potatoes will be water logged. Potatoes are to be mashed, not made into a thin purée. Use a fork if you don’t have other tools. Don’t use new potatoes as they would be too watery. Old floury yellow potatoes are best.