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In the fifth episode of this season of Top Chef, Nina Compton claimed to be the “gnocchi queen.” This turned out to be a justified boast, and whether you’re #TeamNina or #TeamNick, you can’t help but respect her gnocchi skills. Even when Compton was on the losing team in the vegetarian Halloween challenge (due to her teammate's overly sweet sauce and unremarkable arancini), the judges couldn't help but praise her for the flawless, ethereal gnocchi she prepared. Here, Compton shares some of her expert gnocchi tips.
Boil the potatoes whole. For Compton, the key to perfectly pillowy gnocchi is boiling the potatoes whole, with the skin on. “If you cut them up and you boil them, the potatoes take on too much liquid and they become very gummy,” she says.
Make the dough while the potatoes are hot. “Most people wait until the potatoes are cool,” Compton says. “But I make the gnocchi while they’re still hot.” Handling steaming potatoes may not be pleasant, but it's one key to making super-light and airy gnocchi.
Don’t roll the dough, squirt it. Instead of hand-rolling the dough, Compton pours it into a piping bag and squirts the mix into lines before slicing it into gnocchi or gnocchetti.
Keep the sauce simple. On the show, Compton favored elaborate gnocchi toppings like from-scratch sausage and kale pesto, but her favorite way to finish the dumplings is much simpler. “I just use butter, a little bit of the pasta water and chives,” she says.
Here, fantastic recipes for homemade gnocchi.
As an added bonus to Top Chef fans joining us for a virtual viewing party tomorrow night, we've scored a discount code for new diners to use on the online food-ordering superstar, GrubHub. Check back tomorrow for the code.