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Chestnut Flour Gnocchis

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Strong-flavored rustic gnocchis served with an alpine seasoned cheese. Eat five and choke.

Chestnut flour was more common than wheat flour in the Italian Alps a century ago, or at least that's what my book said. But boy what a strong taste. Not at all like chestnut spread. These gnocchis take so long to cook they will always be al dente and then some. If you always wanted to make chestnut-flour gnocchis, see how it works. It's not too late to change your mind.

Chestnut Flour Gnocchis
450 gr chestnut flour
50 gr regular flour
2 eggs
salt
100 gr full fat seasoned Alpine cheese
1 huge pot of boiling broth

Sift and mix the flours. Beat the eggs with the salt and mix everything until you get a soft dough.

Wrap your dough in foil and leave in the fridge 1 hour.

Roll finger-sized dough cylinders and cut little gnocchis.

You need flavor to fight flavor. Cook the gnocchis in a strong broth.

How long until they are cooked? There lies the rub. For after the 20-minutes-or-so recommended in Il cucchiao d'argento, the mother of all modern italian cookbooks, they certainly weren't cooked through. Nor after 40 minutes. At some point a man has go to eat, so when you can't wait anymore, take them out and serve on a hot plate with shreds of cheese and pepper.

These certainly could be called priest-stranglers or strangleanyones. The next day I cut each remaining 'cooked' gnoccho in half lengthwise and fried them with lardo di colonata and cooked them for 15 more minutes in a rosemary-garlic-chili tomato sauce. They were still very much al dente.

If a reader had success with chestnut gnocchis I would be pleased to hear it. Some recipes add potatoes to the dough and that seems like good sense. Modern gnocchis always include potatoes for a lighter dough. It is now painfully clear to me why they do it.

Published 12/03/2007
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12 Comments

  • #1
  • Comment by Helen
  • on: 11/07/2007
I loved the article.  I am still laughing...Don't think I would ever try making Chestnut flour gnocchis.  Thank you for a good laugh just when I needed it ...
  • #2
  • Comment by Susan
  • on: 12/07/2007
Thanks a bunch for the non gluten recipe! I am one Italian that must be a throwback to the Etruscans LOL!! I cannot digest gluten flours and I am always looking for flours and new recipes to substitute wheat in noodles, cakes, pizza crusts,...Have a great day and I love your website! Susan
  • #3
  • Comment by Isaac
  • on: 19/07/2007
You are working the dough too way too much. Also , you don't want to let the dough rest, it's not bread or pasta, it's more like a little potato pillow bound together with just enough egg and flour to keep it together in hot water. Use baker potatoes and chestnut flour together and they will have a much lighter texture.
  • #4
  • Comment by Steve
  • on: 19/08/2007
The chestnut flour version of Gnocchi is called Trofie or Trofia (google it for recipes).  Once you roll out tubes of the dough and cut them into the individual tootsie roll shapes, you are supposed to press your thumb into the middle of each piece and draw it toward you, making the dough curl around your thumb, looking more like a tortellini shape than the big lumps you tried to eat.  Trofia are then thin enough to be cooked like pasta, drained and combined with pesto, ricotta cheese, and chucks of boiled potato.  Very flavorable different experience than your stranglers, which did make me chuckle.  It's also very different than regular potato flour gnocchi.  I hope you try it and enjoy it.
  • #5
  • Comment by Luke
  • on: 16/03/2008
I'm thinking the problem here is two-fold: shape and composition. As far as shape goes, a spätzel press might do the trick. As far as composition goes, I'd boil the chesnut flour with some baking soda down to a crumbly (when set), almost porridge-like consistency before working with it. I'd wager that one or the other would work. Nut and glutinous flours tend to be very protein-rich and not as water-loving as starchy tubers, and I've found noodles typically get tough when not cooked and moistened through.
  • #6
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 18/03/2008
Luke, these are very precise observations on my chestnut flour gnocchi troubles and you might be right! Perhaps I should use whole cooked chestnuts ground into a paste, then add some wheat flour. I can't say I dream to try this again though!
  • #7
  • Comment by anna
  • on: 11/06/2008
where do you buy chestnut flour?
  • #8
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 12/06/2008
Anna, you can buy chestnut flour in online specialty food shops, biological/health food shops and of course in Italy and Corsica.
  • #9
  • Comment by Bianca Peccioli
  • on: 26/06/2008
How do I make chestnut flour? I've got a big tree and sometimes we end up loosing a great deal of if. Please reply to my e-mail.

Thank you
Bianca

PS the recipe looks great
  • #10
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 28/06/2008
Bianca, thanks for visiting. Although I've never made chestnut flour myself, I'm told you need to dry the chestnut in your attic, then grind them in a mill like you would regular flour. Let me know if you manage to do it, it would be a great project!
The photos are missing!  Love your site which I just came upon today!

Shantihhh/mary-Anne
San Francisco Bay Area
  • FX's answer→ Good Lord, I don't know what happened with those pictures! Thanks to you I was able to fish them out of my archive and reupload them for your visual enjoyment only - don't cook this at home or you'll choke before you can say "FX told me so!".


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