I’ve been getting requests for gnocchi on my Food Allergy Recipe Challenge since last May when Eliana first asked for a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free version of the potato dumplings. It’s about time I delivered!
And what a pleasure it was. I had a blast creating this recipe, and my efforts paid off when my son Monte remarked, “These taste exactly like regular gnocchi, except better!”
I had never made from-scratch gnocchi before, so my first question was what type of potatoes I needed. I tried my first batch with Russets; the pasta was fine, but the texture a tad too soft. I then turned to my Italian cuisine guru, Marcella Hazan, and discovered that she recommends boiling potatoes, not baking potatoes, not new potatoes---the waxy “old” potatoes.
Hmm. I did a little culinary translation, and decided that meant gold potatoes, like Yukon Gold. They worked extremely well and lend a golden hue to the gnocchi, a nice effect given this is also an egg-free recipe.
Although making gnoochi may seem difficult, it's not. It just takes a little time. It’s like experimenting with Play Dough. Only better.
This recipe serves four, but you may halve the amounts if you like. Also note that these keep well after cooking, so feel free to make up to a day in advance. Just drizzle them with a little olive oil and cover tightly in the fridge. Reheat before serving.
1. Boil the potatoes until very tender when pricked with a fork. Drain, remove from pot, and let cool. Peel off the skin with your hands.
2. Put potatoes in a mixing bowl and combine with rice milk, oil, and salt, beating with an electric mixer until light, smooth, and fluffy. (Traditional recipes call for using a potato ricer, but I don’t have one, and it seemed to make no difference.)
3. Whisk together flour mix and xanthan gum.
4. Turn whipped potatoes out onto a work surface. (You want them to be warm. If they aren’t warm anymore, give them a minute in the microwave.)
5. Sprinkle mashed potatoes with half the flour mixture and use your hands to knead it in. Add remaining flour and knead dough until smooth, but still slightly sticky. Mold into a ball. Divide into three balls. Roll each ball into a sausage-shaped log, about an inch in diameter. Slice logs into ½-inch-thick rounds.
6. Boil a large pot of well-salted water.
7. Meanwhile, using a fork, with the convex side facing you, press gnocchi, using your thumb to make an imprint (see pics). Then use your index finger to flip the gnocchi toward the handle of the fork, letting gnocchi fall onto your work surface. Repeat with remaining gnocchi. Making them in this fashion allows the sauce to cling to them better. I found that I had to switch forks a few times, because the fork tines get sticky after awhile, and a clean surface works best.
8. Cook the gnocchi in several batches. Add first batch to water, being careful not to overcrowd pot, and cook until they bob to the surface, about 2 minutes. Once they’ve bobbed, cook 10 seconds longer, then use a slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl drizzled with a little olive oil. Repeat with remaining gnocchi. Note: You do not want to overcook these, or they risk becoming gummy. Serve hot with favorite sauce or just a little olive oil and truffle salt.
Allergy-Free Gnocchi © 2011 by Cybele Pascal
(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available at Whole Foods, and online at Amazon.com. If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)
SAFETY NOTE: Because each person's food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns before consumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.
Cybele Pascal is the award-winning author of "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook" and the "Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook." She lives in Los Angeles with her food-allergic family: husband Adam, sons Lennon and Monte, and their dogs, Izzie and Carly (who also has food allergies). Please visit her website at CybelePascal.com or follow her on twitter @CybelePascal.