How to Mash (or Rice) Potatoes

The third and final step before even starting to prepare a potato gnocchi recipe is mashing (or ricing) your potatoes. Believe it or not, there is a correct ricing method.

After going through the whole process of choosing the best potatoes and cooking them the proper way, you don't want to ruin them at this point, do you? Here are 2 very important tips we want to share with you which will influence the final outcome of your gnocchi.

ONE. Mash Your Potatoes Hot

Italian grandmothers were willing to sacrifice their hands and handle hot potatoes for the sake of perfectly fluffy gnocchi. They knew, and science confirms, that making gnocchi mixture while the potatoes are steaming hot prevents them from falling apart in the boiling water. Here's why.

Did you know? Potatoes contain approximately 15-20% starch. At high temperatures, starch tends to become denser and thickens up. This process, called gelatinization, turns starch into a gelatinous, jelly-like paste that provides the gnocchi with a support structure and helps to hold all the ingredients together.

We must take advantage of this magic that hot potatoes create so mash your potatoes when they are steaming hot!

TWO. Use a Potato Ricer, Never Blades

Making gnocchi is very basic and it doesn't really require any fancy tool. There is, however, one that is very important and that determines the success or failure for your potato gnocchi: a potato ricer, in Italian schiacciapatate. This tool looks like a garlic press, just much larger.

When mashing or ricing your (hot!) potatoes never, ever, ever use anything with a blade, like a food processor or immersion blender! Blades break down the starch creating a viscous and gluey mixture (which we don't want). Potato ricers, on the other hand, mash the potatoes without damaging the starch, providing that fluffy consistency we are after. Look.

How to Rice Hot Potatoes Without Burning Your Hands

You are so going to love this tip! Let's recap ... to make perfect gnocchi you need to mash your unpeeled potatoes hot using a potato ricer. What if we told you that you don't have to peel the potatoes and that you won't burn your hands in the process?! Here's how.

Mamma Giuliana's ultimate secret. Cut your steaming hot, unpeeled potatoes in half. Open your potato ricer and place the cut side of the potato facing down towards the basket. Squeeze the handles of the ricer together until the potato begins extruding through the holes. Out goes the potato and in stays the peel! How cool is that?! This trick eliminates the annoying (and painful!) step of having to peel your hot potatoes. Here, watch her do this.

Remove the peel from inside the ricer basket and continue refilling and pressing the potatoes.

You are finally ready to prepare the potato gnocchi recipe of your choice.

Straight From Our YouTube Channel

In this video, Mamma Giuliana shares one of her best cooking tips ... how to mash hot potatoes without burning your hands!

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