This recipe was passed on to me by my aunt Retha who lives somewhere in the North Western Province. Aunt Retha is a very cultured lady and owns the stamps in her passport to prove this. A few years back she travelled to Italy to hang out with poets and playwrights, as you do. During her travels she met an ageing Italian man named Gennaro who took her under his wing and taught her how to make the perfect potato gnocchi. And now, I’m so kind as to share this with you. Feel special.
Let’s kick off with the ingredients:
- 1kg russet potatoes
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 large egg yolk, beaten
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour, divided
Preheat the oven on 200°C
Okay, let’s get started while the oven heats up. What we need to do first is prepare those potatoes for baking. The trick is to bake the potatoes and not boil them because we want to get rid of most of the moisture instead of just boiling the starch out. Poke those ‘taters all round with a fork and pop ’em into the oven. The potatoes will take around 80 minutes to cook, but keep an eye on them because we don’t want to ruin our first attempt.
While the potatoes are in the oven put together your work area. Most of the work needs to be done with your hands so prepare to get your hands dirty. Separate the yolk from one egg and set it aside. When the potatoes are ready leave them out for about 30 minutes to cool down. Once cool, cut the potatoes in half and scoop the insides out with a table spoon. You can either use a potato ricer or just do what I do and smash it all up with a masher. Make sure it’s all one big mush and no little lumps escape your wrath.
Here comes the fun part. Remove all the mashed potato and pop it onto your floured work area into the shape of a mound. Gooi in the rest of the flour and salt. Mix it all up with your hands. The trick is to be gentle – treat the mixture as if it’s your first embrace with a new lover. As you mix add in the yolk. Mix and mix and mix until your creation turns into dough.
Break the dough into palm sized balls and roll ’em out into the shape of long worms. Cut these worms up into bite sized pieces of dumplings – they should look like mini pillows, I guess.
Check it out, you’ve just made gnocchi from scratch! Take a photo and put the process on Instagram. Well, you’ve made uncooked gnocchi, that is. Pop those suckers into a pot of boiling water. Keep an eye on the pot because as soon as they start to float they’re ready. Strain and let sit for five minutes.
Serve with your favourite pasta sauce. Thanks, Aunt Retha and strange Italian man.