Our homemade gnocchi recipe makes soft and delicious potato pillows with three simple ingredients and a fork.
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Gnocchi, pronounced "NYOKEE," is a popular Italian dish that is often made from potatoes and flour, and sometimes with eggs.
It's generally served with a simple tomato sauce, meat-based sauce, or butter sage sauce.
Here we'll show you how to make gnocchi with three simple ingredients and shape them with a fork. Our recipe is the original Italian one for without eggs.
You can make a big batch ahead of time, freeze it, and cook it in a few minutes when you need it for a quick lunch or dinner.
Homemade gnocchi might be slightly different from the store-bought ones we are used to eating outside Italy.
They are soft, silky, and delicate; when you put them in your mouth, they should almost melt.
Our favorite sauces to go with them are:
In the United States, the best potato variety to make gnocchi is medium-sized Russet potatoes. However, red potatoes are also great if you don't live in the US or can't find Russet potatoes.
Also, old potatoes are excellent because they contain more starch and less moisture.
Avoid new potatoes, as they contain too much moisture and absorb too much flour.
It will be hard to make Italian gnocchi if you don't find russet, red, or really old potatoes. You can, however, make a more "international" type of gnocchi with any potato.
To do that, double the amount of flour that we use. Also, double the kneading time. This way, you'll get potato dumplings that are easier to shape, with more bite and that feels more like pasta than a soft and fluffy potato pillow.
Regular all-purpose flour works well. However, to make them even lighter, you can try to find Italian "00" flour.
To make gnocchi gluten-free, you can use all-purpose gluten-free flour or rice flour.
We use sea salt or kosher salt.
You only need a clean surface and a fork to mash the potatoes and shape them.
You can also use a ricer to mash the potatoes and a gnocchi board to shape the dumpling.
Make the gnocchi dough
Add the potatoes, whole and with the skin on, to a large pot full of cold water.
Bring to boil and cook until fork tender. Depending on the size of the potatoes, they can take between 20 and 50 minutes to cook.
Tip: try to use potatoes that are similar in size so that they'll require the same cooking time.
Drain the potatoes and peel them while still hot.
Hold them with a cloth in your left hand, and remove the peel with a small paring knife with your right.
To a large bowl, add the peeled potatoes and mash them with a fork until they are completely mashed.
Tip: if you use a potato ricer to mash the potatoes, you won't need to peel them. Cut them in half instead, put them in the ricer with the cut side facing down, and mash. The peel will stay in the ricer.
Now add the flour and salt, and knead until the potatoes absorb all the flour and you get a compact but soft gnocchi dough.
Transfer the potato and flour mixture to a lightly floured surface and knead for a few more seconds until the flour is fully incorporated.
Depending on the type of potato, you might need to add more flour. However, gnocchi dough should be very soft, so try not to add too much flour and don't over-knead it.
For more info, see the "tips" chapter below.
Sprinkle your worktop with flour. Divide the dough into four pieces. Take one part and roll it into long ropes, about ¾ inch or 2 cm thick.
Now cut each rope into ½ inch or 1.5 cm bits. Use a knife or dough scraper to cut the gnocchi.
Now, you have three options to shape the gnocchi.
First, you can leave them as they are, looking like small cute pillows.
Second, you can roll them on the tines of a fork by applying gentle pressure with your thumb, creating small ridges that will make the gnocchi look very pretty. The ridges will also grab more sauce.
Third, you can use a gnocchi board that you can find online for a few dollars. It's faster to do gnocchi with a gnocchi board than with a fork.
Once shaped, put your gnocchi on a baking sheet lined with a kitchen cloth.
Add the gnocchi, one by one, to a large pot of gently boiling and salted water.
They are pretty delicate, so you should only cook one to two portions at a time without overcrowding the pot.
When they float to the top, they are ready. It should take about 1 minute. Scoop the gnocchi out of the water with a slotted spoon and add them directly to the pan with the sauce.
Since gnocchi are very soft, they might lose their shape if you drain them in a strainer.
Once your gnocchi is shaped, they are quite an easy dinner since they cook in one minute. Then, all you have to do is pick your favorite sauce:
To make something special, for dinner with family and friends, make gnocchi alla sorrentina. They are gnocchi tossed in a tomato basil sauce, then baked in the oven with melty mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Out of this world!
PSST! Gnocchi are also delicious, tossed in a simple butter and sage sauce.
What to serve gnocchi with?
We recommend eating gnocchi as your main dish for lunch or dinner. Serve them with a side of veggies such as:
Our favorite variation, sweet potato gnocchi are super easy to make with microwaved sweet potatoes. You can serve them with a simple butter and sage sauce or a creamy mushroom sauce.
Check out our sweet potato gnocchi recipe to learn how to make them.
To make gnocchi with ricotta, you either use store-bought ricotta or make our dairy-free ricotta home from soy milk.
Replace the potatoes with ricotta, and follow the recipe. Depending on how wet your ricotta is, you might want to add two to three tablespoons of additional flour.
You can make gnocchi with gluten-free flour, such as rice flour or a gluten-free mix.
When you make gluten-free gnocchi, you don't have to worry about over-kneading as there's no gluten.
It would be best if you cooked gnocchi within a couple of hours of making them or freeze them.
You can store leftover cooked gnocchi in the refrigerator for up to a day. Then, jump them on a large skillet with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and black pepper to reheat them. Or bake them in the oven with some cheese (or dairy-free cheese) on top.
Can you make homemade gnocchi ahead of time?
Yes, you can make gnocchi ahead of time if you follow some simple tips for storing them. The best way to store homemade gnocchi is to freeze them straight after you have shaped them.
Can homemade gnocchi be frozen?
Yes. To freeze homemade gnocchi, put them on a single layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Freeze them on the tray; then, after an hour or so, when they are hard, you can transfer them to a freezer bag to save space in your freezer. Keep for up to six months.
How to cook them from frozen?
To cook vegan gnocchi from frozen, add them to salted boiling water and cook till they float on top.
- Use the right potatoes: the best potatoes for making homemade gnocchi are floury, rich in starch, and low in water content.
They will make for a dry, fluffy dough. The best variety is Russet potatoes, red potatoes, and most types of very old potatoes.
If your potatoes are really watery, you can boil them, cut them in half, and bake them in the oven at 180C (360F) for 20 minutes to dry them up.
- Cook potatoes with peel: this is necessary to prevent water from entering the potato. Do not cut the potatoes before cooking them.
- Peel and mash the potatoes while hot: be careful and do not burn yourself. To prevent myself from burning, I take a cloth in my left hand, put the potato in it, and peel it with my right hand. Alternatively, I stick a fork in it to hold the potato.
Potatoes should be mashed while hot because as they cool down, the starches will undergo a process called retrogradation, making the potatoes sticky and hard to work with.
- Don't over-knead: over-kneading will activate the gluten network in the flour, making the gnocchi gummy and chewy.
- Cook immediately (or freeze): gnocchi should be cooked straight after you make them because when they sit around, they lose their texture and shape. However, if you want to make them in advance, it's best to freeze them.
The russet potato is excellent for gnocchi because it contains more starch and less water than regular potatoes.
However, you can use red or old potatoes if you can't find Russet potatoes. In any case, try to avoid new potatoes.
Probably because there is too much water in the potatoes and, as a result, in the gnocchi dough.
This happens either because you cooked the potatoes without their peel or chopped. It can also occur if you use the wrong type of potato.
Do not add flour directly to the dough. Instead, transfer the gnocchi to a clean worktop, dust the worktop with flour, and gently work the dough there.
Do more of a rolling, compacting movement than kneading.
Gnocchi is an Italian dumpling and is different from other types of pasta. Traditional pasta is made from wheat flour mixed with water (and sometimes eggs), and since gnocchi consists primarily of potatoes, it can be categorized as a dumpling.
In Italy, gnocchi is traditionally eaten as a "primo piatto," or first course. That's after a small starter and before the main dish. They fall in the same category as pasta, risotto, and ravioli.
It is common to eat gnocchi with a simple tomato basil sauce, with a meat-based sauce, or with a simple butter and sage sauce.
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Homemade Gnocchi Recipe
- To mash the potatoes you'll need a fork, or a potato ricer, or a rotary vegetable mill.
- 2 pounds potatoes Russet or red potatoes.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour this can vary greatly based on the type of potato so be ready to add more.
- 1 teaspoon salt + 1½ tablespoons for the water to cook the gnocchi.
MAKE THE GNOCCHI DOUGH
- Add the potatoes, whole and with the skin on, to a large pot full of cold water.Bring to boil and cook until fork tender (20 to 50 mins depending on size).
- Drain the potatoes and peel them while still hot.Hold them with a cloth in your left hand, and remove the peel with a small paring knife with your right.
- In a large bowl, mash potatoes with a fork or potato ricer.
- Add flour and salt, and knead until you get a compact but soft gnocchi dough.
- Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few more seconds until the flour is fully incorporated.
- Sprinkle your worktop with flour. Divide the dough into four pieces. Take one part and roll it into long ropes, about ¾ inch or 2 cm thick.Cut each rope into ½ inch or 1.5 cm bits. Use a knife or dough scraper to cut the gnocchi.
- Now, you have three options to shape the gnocchi.First, you can leave them as they are, looking like small cute pillows.
- Second, you can roll them on the tines of a fork by applying gentle pressure with your thumb, creating small ridges that will make the gnocchi look very pretty. The ridges will also grab more sauce.
- Third, you can use a gnocchi board that you can find online for a few dollars. It's faster to do gnocchi with a gnocchi board than with a fork.
- Once shaped, put your gnocchi on a baking tray lined with a kitchen cloth.
- Add the gnocchi, one by one, to a large pot of gently boiling and salted water.They are pretty delicate, so you should only cook one to two portions at a time without overcrowding the pot.
- When they float to the top, they are ready. It should take about 1 minute. Scoop the gnocchi out of the water with a slotted spoon and add them directly to the pan your the sauce.