Now, while Mom has made gnocchi many times, I have not. Not ever. This was going to be an adventure for me. I did have the presence of mind to tape the gnocchi show, which made it all a bit easier.
At America's Test Kitchen, they try out different ingredients and methods of preparation to see what works best. There aren't many ingredients in gnocchi. The emphasis was getting the potato -- egg -- flour ratio exactly right. Turns out it's not that hard to do. Measure the potato and the flour by weight. Do not make the mistake of measuring the flour with a half cup measure. It results in a different amount of flour. Weigh your flour!
The other key to good gnocchi appears to be keeping it light. They used a few interesting tricks to keep the potatoes fluffy, including spreading them out on a sheet of aluminum foil to cool off. If they're in a bowl, the potatoes will weigh themselves down. They also found that ricing the potatoes yields the best results because it produces light fluffy bits of potato to work with. I used my handy dandy old-fashioned potato ricer.
This recipe makes enough for 4-6 servings. I will say that when I make them again, I'll probably make them in the morning, ahead of time, because while they weren't difficult to make, they are time-consuming since each one has to be handmade. Then I'll toss them in the sauce just before serving.
The results were magnificent. Light, lovely gnocchi with the simple browned butter sauce they recommended. Mom was very happy!
(from America's Test Kitchen)
1 pound (cooked) russet potatoes (roughly 4 medium)
1 large egg
4 ounces flour (weighed, not measured)
1 teaspoon salt
Peel russet potatoes and cook in water. Rice with a ricer, spreading the potatoes on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and allow to cool.
Measure the cooled potatoes by weight. You need exactly one pound.
Whisk the egg well. Add to the potatoes and mix in very gently until just coated. Don't over-mix or let it get gooey.
Using a fork and a light hand, toss in the 4 ounces of flour (weighed, not measured!) and the salt.
Gently mix until there are no patches of dry flour.
On a lightly floured board, gently knead together the potato mixture for about 1 minute. It should be smooth but moist.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces. On a lightly floured board roll each piece out into a rope about 1/2 inch in diameter.
Cut into pieces about 3/4 of an inch long.
Place the cut side against the back of a fork.
Gently press against the tines.
Using your finger, roll the gnocchi off the fork, thus creating a little curve.
Browned Butter Sauce
(from America's Test Kitchen)
1 shallot (I used 2 cloves of garlic, minced)
1 teaspoon fresh sage (or a pinch of dried sage)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)
Melt the butter in a pan large enough to accommodate the gnocchi. Add the shallot (or garlic), sage and salt. Allow the butter to cook until it just begins to turn golden brown. Remove from heat, add the lemon juice and gnocchi. Turn to coat.