Published September 1, 2011. From Cook's Illustrated.
What’s the secret to transforming two heavyweight ingredients—flour and potatoes—into featherweight dumplings? It comes down to the simplest of strategies: precision.
Gnocchi recipes are seemingly simple, but there’s plenty of room for error. Most versions turn out dense, gluey, or rubbery—and sometimes all of the above.
We wanted our gnocchi to boast a pillowy texture and an earthy flavor that would need nothing more than a gloss of browned butter sauce to be fit for the table.
Russets proved to be our potato of choice because their low-moisture flesh absorbed less flour than other spuds. To enhance the spuds’ earthiness, we opted for precooking them in the microwave before they went into the oven, which deepened their flavor and allowed some of their moisture to evaporate. Once we pulled the potatoes from the oven, we grabbed an oven mitt and paring knife to remove the skins. Since the key to fluffy gnocchi is dry potatoes, working quickly was essential to ensuring that the spuds would give off as much steam as possible.
When it was time to mash the potatoes, we chose the gentlest method possible: a ricer. After running the potatoes through the ricer, we spread the strands onto a baking sheet, where they continued to release steam. Once the potatoes had cooled slightly, we incorporated an egg, which gave the dough structure, and then the flour.
A traditional shaping method—cutting the dough into pieces, rolling each piece into a rope, and then cutting them into small pillows and rolling each dumpling against the tines of a fork—was the best way to get same-size gnocchi and to give the sauce something to hold on to. As for the sauce, a simple nutty browned butter with shallot and fresh sage fit the bill perfectly—and took just three minutes to make.list of recipes