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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Instant Potato Gnocchi: Recipe

It should come as no surprise that I never jumped on the low-carb bandwagon. How could I? My idea of heaven is a big plate of potato gnocchi smothered in tomato sauce and with a slight crust of baked Parmesan and unctuous mozzarella. You've got to admit, a gratin of gnocchi is awfully enticing.

Gnocchi has pretty much been my nemesis. I just can't seem to make them as light and fluffy as they are at my neighborhood Italian restaurant. I've tried the packaged varieties. Yuck. I've tried mixes with some success. And I've tried countless recipes--baking the potatoes on a bed of rock salt, steaming the potatoes, fanning them. And then it dawned on me, if the problem is getting the potatoes dry enough, why not start with actual dry potatoes? Instant mashed potatoes! I bought a box and started experimenting.

I wish I could say that this recipe is entirely original. But I got the idea in my head and promptly found I wasn't the only one. On the internet there are a whole host of versions. But this is how I made it. They may not be as divine as truly homemade, from scratch, at my neighborhood trattoria, but they were pretty darn good!

Instant Potato Gnocchi
serves 2 -4 (main course/first course)


1 egg
1 Cup instant mashed potatoes
1 Cup flour
1 Cup boiling water
pinch salt
1/4-1/2 Cup flour for rolling the dough


Beat the egg in a large bowl. Mix in the instant potato flakes. Stir in the salt and about half of the flour. Pour the boiling water into the bowl and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon. Mix in the rest of the flour and combine well. The dough should be very sticky.

Place the dough on a floured board. Break the dough into four pieces. Roll each piece in the flour, making a long snake shape. Cut into gnocchi using a knife or a pastry scraper. Roll the gnocchi off the back of a fork to make a slightly concave shape with indentations. Toss finished gnocchi into a bowl with flour to keep them from sticking together.

Cook in boiling water until they float. Drain and serve with tomato sauce. Or bake the cooked gnocchi with sauce and cheese.