I have always been a fan of other people’s gnocchi. Somewhat dense and coated with layers of grated Parmesan cheese. My favorites are the ones that taste so intensely (and purely) of potato and provide the perfect companion to many of the spring vegetables I look forward to devouring in the coming weeks. From Swiss chard to the first little parsnips to fava beans to baby spinach, gnocchi makes them all taste even better than they do on their own. After many bad batches, I settled on this recipe as my absolute favorite. Like pancakes, your first batch may not be your best.
It takes time to try your hand at this. This recipe, to me, is worth that culinary leap of faith.
Gnocchi With Potato Skins
4 pounds large Idaho baking potatoes (preferably all of similar size), washed
4 tablespoons kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
1 1/2 sticks lightly salted butter, softened
7 large egg yolks
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus additional for seasoning
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
Pinch ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
The juice from 1/2 to 1 lemon
1. In a large pot of water, add the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are completely tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, up to 1 1/2 hours. Drain the potatoes and immediately peel off the skins. Reserve the skins. Put the potatoes through a food mill and spread the flesh on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, blend the butter and egg yolks until smooth. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and dust them with the Parmesan and flour. Sprinkle with pepper and allspice. Using a pastry cutter (bench scraper), “cut” the ingredients into each other until the mixture comes together.
3. Break off pieces of the dough and roll into “tubes” about 1 inch in diameter. Make cuts about 1 inch apart and roll each piece gently into a ball. Press each ball gently and roll over the tines of a fork to create ridges on one side of each piece. This is a great way for the gnocchi to be built to catch the sauce and bits of fresh vegetables.
3. Bring another large pot of water to a rolling boil and add the remaining salt. Add the gnocchi and cook for 2-3 minutes or until they float to the surface of the water. Heat the canola oil in a medium saucepan. When the oil begins to smoke lightly, add some of the potato skins and pan-fry them until they become crispy. Remove the skins and add in some of the gnocchi. Brown the gnocchi lightly and season with salt, Parmesan cheese and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve with the potato skins on top.
What can you also add to this recipe?
- Fresh fava beans and torn basil leaves
- Wilted radicchio leaves and balsamic vinegar
- Smoked paprika, a dollop of fresh ricotta and some arugula leaves
- Wilted Swiss chard leaves and a splash of red wine vinegar
- Roasted parsnips with chopped hazelnuts
Every week, Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex’s Day Off, shares with readers what she’s eating — whether it’s from the farmers’ market or fresh off the boat, she’ll have you craving everything from comfort food to seasonal produce.