In April last year, I wrote two posts on gnocchi … the first appropriately entitled “The trouble with gnocchi”. I have no problem confessing that I only made gnocchi once the whole of last year. I did eat gnocchi more than once, however. And on one occasion shortly before Christmas, at a new restaurant that was hosting a wine tasting evening. The sauce was very good but the texture didn’t do it for me (too hard) and so I didn’t feel too bad about my own gnocchi!
I surmised the problem might have been that the restaurant had to make gnocchi for too many people at the same time. Some time later, talking about this to my cousin’s husband who is a chef, I was surprised to hear from him, instead, that he and his helpers had often made large quantities of perfectly good gnocchi at the restaurant from which he only recently resigned in a posh hotel in the heart of Rome. He agreed that gnocchi can spell trouble if they are not cooked straight away. The secret, he confided, was in bringing the gnocchi to the boil immediately they are shaped and then confining them for a few minutes to a bowl of iced water. The gnocchi thus cooked can be eaten the following day, warmed up in whatever sauce.
Emboldened by this technical advice, I ventured to make gnocchi as soon as I could and check out this ice-water business.
Remove the gnocchi (they are cooked as soon as they float up to the top of the boiling water) and place them in a large bowl full of iced water. When they have cooled down, drain the gnocchi and put them in a container in the fridge (if you are going to eat them the following day) or somewhere fairly cool, if you are going to eat them later in the day.
When you are ready to serve the gnocchi, heat up the sauce and grate the cheese (either parmesan or pecorino) ….
Re-cook the gnocchi (which had previously been removed from the fridge and brought to room temperature):
P.S. Instead of re-boiling the gnocchi, you could also heat them up directly in the sauce. In fact, probably a better thing to do.