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I made pan-fried gnocchi for the first time today. I used the following:

  • Wholemeal plain flour
  • Leftover baked potatoes
  • Salt
  • A single egg.

I ran the potatoes through a cheese grater because I don't have a ricer. That got them into a super aerated pile. I added the egg and added flour until the whole thing was clinging together. I lifted it onto a floured surface, kneaded for about 4 minutes. I'm not a pasta adept so I don't know if I overworked - safe to assume I did.

I blanched in boiling water until they floated to the top, then I pan fried them in olive oil until golden brown on both sides. They were too chewy when they came out (No doubt wrong proportions of ingredients) but bizarrely, they tasted and smelt like English pancakes. I'm just wondering, is there something with the egg and the flour that would cause this?

  • Welcome to the site! What would you expect them to taste like? Have you had them prepared the same way before and they tasted differently? – GdD Mar 4 at 20:10
  • It might have been the slight fried-ness of dough, and you just associate that with pancakes. I'd have assume they'd be more like matafan : kitchen-notebook.blogspot.com/2010/02/… , but that's not something most people are familiar with. – Joe Mar 4 at 20:45
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    A suggesting for future attempts, pressing through a fine sieve can be substituted for a ricer especially it the potato is still warm. It is give a riced consistency or even finer and reduce the tendency to overwork. Overworking will definitely result in tough and more dense than you probably wanted. – dlb Mar 4 at 22:34
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    Sweet? that might be an issue with the potatoes -- when they're stored in the cold, they'll convert starches to sugar which dramatically changes the flavor. See cooking.stackexchange.com/a/95603/67 – Joe Mar 5 at 0:15
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    Very possibly under salted. You would use minimal/no salt in pancakes, but a fair amount in pasta. – Debbie M. Mar 5 at 15:12
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It would be difficult to say precisely because the results that you describe are usually due to an inadvertent (and often undiscovered) mistake, but:

  • Not using a ricer or mill could cause you to inadvertently over-work the mixture; by the time you feel like you get the right tactile response it could very well be over-glutenous (this explains the chewy center). If your budget permits, even a cheap ricer or small mill would help (they're found for as low as $10), if not, just try mashing with a fork until fine prior to mixing with the flour and egg.

  • You need to be somewhat aggressive with salt, as others have pointed out. Twice as much as you think you need might seem like a lot, but try that as a general measure.

  • You mentioned blanching, did the water come up to a rapid boil very shortly after losing heat when you introduced them? You might want to use a higher-output burner if not. This can also be the bane of some fresh egg pasta; the water needs to be at a steady rolling boil and recover quickly. To compensate, you can use a bigger pot with more water and boil it covered, it might recover sooner. This could also be why they were a bit chewy

Those points could also be contributors to the taste you describe but the sum of the ingredients matter here, too. How old was the flour? With pasta and gnocci, I use a brand that's clearly marked with a packaged date so it can be rotated properly.

Also, did you groove them? Little grooves on the sides help the Maillard reaction so they don't need to fry as long, which keeps the oil from going pungent, and helps hold the salt a little better.

Source: I've screwed up more Gnocchi than I've gotten right. It's a labor of love, and so rewarding when they come out perfectly. Don't give up!

  • I did a lot of these things. Thanks for all the advice. – christopher Mar 5 at 15:44

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