The cookbook “Talismano della Felicita” from Ada Buoni has been in my family for many years. I have two copies, one that belonged to my maternal grandma, from around 1930’s, and a newer edition from the nineties that I bought in Italy least ten years ago. According to the older version of the “Talismano della Felicita” potato gnocchi used to be a traditional Roman dish that was served on Thursdays in small Roman “trattorie”. Gnocchi was also the preferred dish to serve at family gatherings by many Romans, a custom that still holds today. It took several tries to get a gluten free potato gnocchi that was light, soft, that tasted like potato and not flour. I knew this recipe was a keeper when I got the stamp of approval from Juan Carlos, our family toughest food critic!
Growing up I remember my mother using a “passaverdura” or food mill to puree the tomatoes and vegetables for the tomato sauce. Some Italian cooks use the “passaverdura” to mash the potatoes. I personally prefer using a potato ricer because it is easier to operate and clean. What a “passaverdura” does is that it manages to separate unwanted fibers and seeds, resulting in a silky and smooth sauce. On the other hand, a blender mixes the fibers and seeds together resulting in a runny sauce that has to be sifted. If you don’t have a “passaverdura” and you don’t mind a chunky sauce you can simply break up (press) the canned tomatoes with your hands.
Most potato gnocchi recipes don’t use eggs because the consistency without eggs is much lighter. When using gluten free flours a binding agent, such as eggs, is necessary to help the ingredients hold together also adding a springy quality to the gnocchi. In this gluten free potato gnocchi recipe only the egg yolks are added to the mixture because the egg whites, which account to nearly 90% water, would add too much moisture resulting in a sticky dough. Another unconventional ingredient used in this recipe is oil; it was added to this recipe to get a smoother and more delicate dough.
The trick to getting the correct potato to flour ration is using a potato that is starchier and also using correct cooking method. The goal when making potato gnocchi, whether gluten free or not, is a dough that is not sticky. The sticker the dough the more flour will be used making the gnocchi heavier and chewier. What makes the dough sticky? any ingredient that adds moisture such as eggs and potatoes. Russet or Idaho potatoes are preferred for their lower water and higher starch contents, this means less flour is used resulting in a more tender gnocchi. Many recipes out there boil the potatoes, in this recipe I baked them because boil potatoes absorb more water. If you have never baked potatoes make sure you prick the potato with a fork in a few places to allow the potato to cook faster and also to avoid an explosion because of steam build up.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ cup diced onions
- 80 grams pancetta diced
- 2 medium garlic cloves whole
- 1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup water
- 2 cloves
- Pass the tomatoes through the ‘passaverdura' (food mill). Set the tomato puree on the side.
- In a medium sized pot saute the pancetta, cloves, onion, sage, and whole garlic in olive oil.
- Add the tomato puree back into the pot.
- Add water and season with salt and pepper.
- Let it simmer for about 20 minutes over medium heat.
- Remove the garlic and cloves.
- Add the parsley and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
- 600 grams of mashed Russet or Idaho potatoes (weighed after mashed)
- 70 grams white rice flour
- 30 grams potato flour
- 1 tablespoon tapioca flour
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese plus extra when serving
- ⅛ teaspoon of salt
- pinch of nutmeg
- Turn the oven to 400 ˚F.
- Scrub clean the potatoes, wash and dry, remove eyes and any surface blemishes. Bast with oil.
- Using a fork, prick the potatoes in a couple of places this way allowing the steam to release.
- Bake the potatoes until soft, approximately 1 hour or more. Depends on the size of the potatoes used. The microwave could also be used.
- Let the potatoes cool and then peel.
- Rice the potatoes with a fine potato ricer.
- Weigh the mashed potato to make sure you have the correct amount.
- Weigh all the flours. When using gluten free flours it is important it is weighted.
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites.
- On the kitchen counter of a large cutting board combine all the ingredients. Don't knead the dough because it can become gummy.
- Form the dough into a ball and cover with a towel so that it won't dry.
- Cut a piece of the dough and roll it with both hands on the kitchen counter or large cutting board until you have a "rope" about the thickness of your thumb. If the dough sticks to the working surface sprinkle some rice flour.
- Cut it into 1 inch pieces. Take each dumpling and flip with your index finger against the inside of a fork. You can also use the inside of a cheese grater or a gnocchi board.
- As you prepare the gnocchi place them on a cookie sheet with a non stick mat.
- Cook the gnocchi in boiling well-salted water. As soon as the gnocchi rise to the surface of the water they are ready.
- Transfer the cooked gnocchi to an oven ready bowl and dress them with the tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese.
- The gnocchi will be cooked in batches, so for every batch you will be pouring a layer of tomato sauce and sprinkling Parmesan cheese.
- When all the gnocchi have been cooked bake the them for 10 minutes at 350 ˚F.
Did you make this recipe?