On paper, 2012 Atlanta Rising Star Chef Shane Devereux of The Lawrence is not the chef you’d expect to concoct the perfect gnocchi. Devereux’s style combines a childhood spent eating Vietnamese food with years of classical French training. But even without the requisite Italian nonna teaching him the art of noodle-making, Devereux has developed a simple, foolproof method for creating light-as-air dough that he pairs with fennel-basil pistou and chicharrónes.
To avoid the pitfalls of an otherwise simple recipe, Devereux recommends boiling potatoes skin-on, preventing excessive water penetration that might cause the dough to become “a gummy mess.” He also insists on lightly seasoning the water; too much salt can lead to overly starchy potatoes. After the tubers are cooked and pressed through a tamis, Devereux cools the potatoes thoroughly, since heat activates the flour’s gluten. And finally, after making the dough (without overworking the mixture, of course), he allows it to sit under a towel for about five minutes, giving the gluten a chance to relax. This final step creates a noticeable difference, one we tasted firsthand when Devereux had us sample a rested gnocchi versus an un-rested one.
Devereux’s gnocchi can be frozen and served within a few days without losing quality. In fact, if he hadn’t shared his secret, we would have never guessed the plate he served us wasn’t prepared fresh.
1. Put potatoes in medium pot of lightly seasoned water and cook on low heat, barely reaching a simmer, for about 1 hour.
2. Using a butter knife, gently remove the skins from the potatoes and push them through a tamis or potato ricer.
3. Spread the milled potato onto a wooden cutting board and cool for 10 minutes.
4. Season potato mash. Form mixture into a loose ball and make a well in the center. Pour one beaten egg into the center well and evenly sprinkle flour over the mixture.
5. Begin mixing eggs with the potato, starting in the well and gradually working the fork outwards.
6. When the mixture comes together, use a bench scrapper and lightly fold the mixture and knead 6 times. On the last knead, make dough into the shape of a ball and cover with a towel.
7. Cut a small piece, the size of a tennis ball, from the dough. Roll to create a log the diameter of a hot dog.
8. Cut the log into 1-inch pieces. Add 3 to 5 pieces to the boiling water to test.
9. Cut remaining dough and keep pieces on a sheet tray. Optional: roll cut pieces on a textured board for patterned consistency. Freeze excess gnocchi.
10. Bring water to a boil, and drop 10 gnocchi in at a time. Once they float, remove from water.