One my recent trip to Italy I believe I found myself ordering gnocchi more times than I can count, and one of my favorite dishes I sampled was this simple chestnut gnocchetti (small gnocchi) topped with a creamy cheese sauce. Chestnut flour, although not readily available in most grocery stores, can be ordered from many online sources, or found in specialty food shops. The chestnut flour gives these gnocchi a nutty flavor with a slight sweet taste that is delicious!
The trick to making any gnocchi is to not over knead the dough, and to use only as much flour as is needed to create a soft, workable dough. Knead your gnocchi dough only as long as it takes for the ingredients to come together into a smooth dough. The longer you knead, the more flour you will use, resulting in a heavier gnocchi.
It is a good idea if you are new to gnocchi making to test your gnocchi before you prepare the whole batch. Drop a couple of gnocchi into boiling water and remove as soon as they come to the surface. If they fall apart, knead in a little more flour. If they hold up well, continue cutting the rest of your gnocchi. To cook gnocchi, always use a large pot of boiling, salted water, and remove them as soon as they float to the surface. If you overcook gnocchi they will turn to mush. Gnocchi don’t keep well at room temperature; so if you are not cooking them right away, place them on a lightly floured baking sheet in the refrigerator. I would not keep any type in the refrigerator longer than a few hours. Generally, properly prepared gnocchi don’t freeze well, but you can prepare them so quickly, it ismuch easier to make them fresh each time. I find that baking my potatoes instead of boiling them adds a lot of flavor to the gnocchi and keeps them dry which reduces the amount of flour needed. I also use a fine mesh potato ricer which creates a more delicate textured gnocchi.
Deborah Mele 2011
- 2 Pounds Baking Potatoes (About 3 to 4 Potatoes)
- 1/2 Cup Chestnut Flour
- 1 Cup Of Flour
- 1 Egg
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- 6 Ounces Italian Melting Cheese (Fontina or Robiola Work Well)
- Salt & Pepper
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Cracked Black Pepper
- Bake your potatoes in their skins until fork tender and place on a plate until they are cool enough to handle.
- Cut the potatoes in half, and scoop out the potato and press through a potato ricer into a bowl.
- Add the egg, and slowly start adding the chestnut flour a little at a time, mixing well with your hands.
- Add half the all-purpose flour and continue to mix, adding just enough additional flour to create a soft workable dough.
- Knead gently only briefly until you have achieved a smooth, pliable if slightly sticky dough.
- To shape the gnochcetti, first break the dough into fist sized pieces, and roll each piece into a log about the thickness of your index finger on a lightly floured surface.
- Cut into 1/2 inch pieces, and place the prepared gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
- To make the sauce, heat the cream until hot, then add the cheese and stir until it has completely melted and the sauce has thickened.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- To cook the gnocchetti, drop carefully into salted boiling water and remove immediately as they have all floated to the surface.
- Drain and top with the sauce.
- Serve hot, offering grated cheese and cracked pepper at the table.