Four main ingredients for four types of gnocchi. Here are the tricks and recipes for preparing potato, semolina, pumpkin and bread gnocchi.
They will always be considered a food cult, but nowadays they’re very often purchased ready-made because they are considered too difficult to make from scratch. Yet it is not so complicated to prepare gnocchi at home, and the derived satisfaction is priceless.
Different types of gnocchi
In Italy, from north to south, on the topic of gnocchi, it is implied that we are talking about potato gnocchi. Seasoned in every way, depending on the gastronomic habits of the area: with tomato sauce, with meat sauce, with basil pesto, with cheese fondue, with tomato and mozzarella or simply with butter and sage. But even if they are the best known, they are surely not the only ones. n Tuscany, for example, gnocchi made with polenta are very common. This is a delicious family dish in which gnocchi are nothing more than spoonfuls of semi-thick polenta seasoned with meat sauce or sausage dressing. Very popular in Friuli are gnocchi filled with plum (fresh or dried), seasoned with sugar, cinnamon and breadcrumbs browned in butter, boasting a distinctly sweet taste despite being served as a first course. In some areas of Emilia, rice gnocchi are prepared. The rice, cooked for a long time in broth until it reaches the consistency of thick risotto, is blended with breadcrumbs, grated parmigiano and eggs. Once boiled these are seasoned with melted butter and grated parmigiano. Another Friulian gnocchi recipe uses bread, milk, eggs and cheese. What follow are the recipes for classic potato gnocchi, of typically Roman semolina gnocchi, those made with pumpkin and small bread gnocchi.
1 kg old potatoes
250 g flour, plus more if needed
1 egg yolk
Boil the potatoes and let them cool (don’t use cold water as they loose too much starch that way), peel them and pass them through a potato ricer. Mix them with the egg yolk and the flour (the amount of flour grestly depends on how absorbant the potatoes are). When the “dough” is ready, roll into ropes and cut into half-inch buttons. For a ribbed surface, roll each button on the back of a cheese grater, or the tines of a fork.
Plunge the gnocchi in plenty of boiling water (lightly salted), when they float to the surface, fish them out using a slotted spoon. Dress as desired.
Roman-style semolina gnocchi
200 g semolina flour
3/4 l whole milk
2 egg yolks
100 g butter
100 g parmigiano, grated
Salt to taste
Prep time: 30 minutes + 2 hours for cooling
Bring the milk and salt to a boil and sift in the semolina, whisking and then stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook over moderate heat for approximately 15 minutes stirring continuously. Off the burner, add a tbsp of butter, 2 tbsp. grated parmigiano and the egg yolks. Blend well and pour the obtained mix on a wet marble surface. Spread evenly to 1-cm thickness using the wet blade of a large knife. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to cool for approximately 2 hours. With a round 4-cm diameter cookie cutter, cut semilina discs. Butter an oven pan, lay the gnocchi and dust with grated parmigiano. Build a second layer with the semolina discs, overlapping them slightly and sprinkling them with more parmigiano and flecks of butter. Continue until all the the ingredients are used up, making sure to narrow the perimeter of each layer to form a kind of dome. Bake in a hot oven (200° C) for about 15 minutes, or until the surface is golden. Let them cool slightly before serving.
1,2 kg fresh pumkin pulp
200 g flour, plus more if needed
1 egg yolk
Salt to taste
Carve the pumpkin into slices, remove the seeds and fibers but leave the skin on. Place on a sheet pan skin down and bake in a hot oven (180° C) for approximately 1 hour until tender. Once the pumpkin is baked, let it cool, remove the skin and pass the pulp through a food mill, collecting it in a bowl. Should there be too much water, quickly heat it in a pan to absorb any liquid. Once cool, add the egg yolk, almost all the sifted flour, a tsp of nutmeg and a pinch of salt. Mix well and place the obtained “dough” on a worksurface, kneading well to obtain a satiny, elastic ball. Divide into three sections and roll each into ropes on the floured surface. Cut 1-inch buttons and roll them, adding a thumbprint on each, or rolling over the tines of a fork or that back of a cheese grater. When the gnocchi are all ready, plunge them into boiling hot, lightly salted water. Cook for 2 minutes or until they all float up to the surface. Fish them out with a slotted spoon transferring them to a serving platter. Dress as desired, we suggest classic brown butter, sage and grated parmigiano.
400 g day-old bread
2 glasses of whole milk
50 g prosciutto, minced
200 g flour, plus more if needed
50 g parmigiano, grated
2 eggs, beaten
Parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Cube the bread and place it in a bowl with the milk, letting it soak up for 30 minutes, mixing occasionally. Once the time has elapsed, wring out the milk and place the squeezed bread in a bowl with the prosciutto, the eggs, the cheese, 1 tbsp. of parsley and enough flour to obtain a thick dough. Season with salt and pepper and knead the dough to obtain a ball. Divide the dough into cherry-sized gnocchi with floured hands. Once all the gnocchi are shaped, plunge them in plenty of lightly salted boiling water, as they float to the surface, fish them out with a slotted spoon, transferring them to a hot serving platter. Dress as desired or with tomato sauce and grated ricotta.