Alternate title: Gnoccho erat demonstrandum
Gnocchi, as an easy and storable potato delivery vehicle, are a staple in my household. I have never really used/made a recipe for them even though I have made reference to such recipe as would exist, and Lillian has written a recipe for squash gnocchi. Also, it appears there is little agreement on whether (potato) gnocchi properly contain egg, so I decided to simultaneously systematize, record, and perfect my basic spud gnocchi recipe here.
1) Boil a bunch of potatoes until soft. I have generally skinned them after cooking by just peeling off the skins; however, this is a bit messy and scaldy, so I would suggest just peeling them in advance.
2) Mash or run through a ricer. Most recipes you'll find on gnocchi say something along the lines of "optimal texture is achieved if a ricer is used." This strikes me as a load of hooey, as we're just going to mash it all up with flour and knead it into a consistent dough 2 steps from now, and I think you would be hard pressed to distinguish riced from mashed at that point.
3) Here is the part where you decide on eggs. I weighed my potatoes after boiling and peeling and came up with 5.5 pounds, and divided it into two batches of around 2.75 pounds each. One got 2 eggs, and they both got the same amount of flour (more on that later).
We broke a couple off each batch and boiled them. Our results: inconclusive. We could tell them apart, but neither was obviously preferable to the other. We just combined them, making a batch of 5.5 pounds potatoes, 2 eggs, and 4 cups flour, which, relative to most gnocchi recipes (which generally use around 1 egg per pound potatoes) is an eggless recipe. So, I will suggest you simply save the eggs and skip them entirely.
4) There is an optimal amount of flour to use. Too little and when you boil them you will simply find mush in the bottom of your pot, too much and they will get tough. Based on past experiencem, we started with about 1 cup per 2 pounds. This was enough for them to hold together, but they were very fragile, so we ended up upping the amount until we arrived at 4 cups for the 5.5 pounds, which is nearasdammit 3/4c per pound potato. This provides a gnoccho which is firm, easy to fry, yet fluffy and creamy inside.
5) Boil them until they float. I cannot improve upon this step.
My preferred method for preparing gnocchi is frying. Crispy exteriors are win.
Any amount of potatoes, specifically a high-starch, low-moisture variety such as russet
3/4c of flour per pound of potato
1 tsp salt per pound of potato
1) Peel, boil, and mash or rice potatoes.
2) Work salt and flour into mashed potatoes, knead into an even dough
3) Working with small quantities, roll out into ropes and cut into little pillow shapes. I don't both with any dimpling/forks etc, they do just fine smooth. I find the smaller the better, so try for around the size of a nickel.