How to Make Gnocchi
This is my simple, step-by-step guide of How to Make Gnocchi. These soft, pillowy little dumplings are a light and airy alternative to pasta, perfect for pairing with a variety of pasta sauces like tomato sauce, pesto, or your favorite sauce.
Gnocchi can serve as an easy side dish or a first course, as is common in Italy. Alternatively, it can constitute a complete meal when paired with a hearty sauce, such as Italian sausage ragu, or enhanced with vegetables like peas and asparagus. My personal favorites are served mac and cheese style and with the ever popular brown butter.
Making homemade potato gnocchi dough is a satisfying process, much like crafting homemade pasta. It is not only easy, requiring only four ingredients, but also incredibly rewarding. All you need to do is mix mashed potatoes, flour, egg, and salt, then roll and cut. The result is fluffy gnocchi that simply melts in your mouth.
The word ‘gnocchi,’ derived from the Italian word ‘nocchio,’ refers to a knot in wood. However, it’s not limited to being a dish served only in Italy. Gnocchi is enjoyed in France, where they are known as ‘gnocchis à la parisienne,’ in Croatia, where they are called ‘njoki,’ and in South America, where they go by the name ‘nhoque.
I would say that most of us, at one time or another, have had gnocchi or at least seen them on a restaurant menu. When you taste good gnocchi, they should be light and almost melt in your mouth.
I have had heavy, dense, and tough gnocchi, much like store-bought gnocchi, and that’s just a case of using too much flour and over-kneading the dough
Since this is such an easy gnocchi recipe, I like to fill my freezer (more on freezing below) so I have some on hand for a fast and easy meal because they cook so quickly. In fact, they cook almost five times faster than pasta.
Traditional gnocchi is made with regular potatoes (the best potatoes to use are russet potatoes because of they are drier and high starch content). You can also make them with sweet potatoes and ricotta cheese.
How to store homemade gnocchi
Uncooked, it is best to freeze them (see instructions below). Any leftovers should be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to four days.
There is no need to defrost frozen gnocchi; they cook up just as quickly from frozen. Freezing them right after making is as simple as spreading them on a baking sheet and freezing. Then, transfer to freezer bags, and you can pull out as many as you need when needed.
Perfect mashed potato tip
I use a potato ricer (pictured below). It’s like a giant garlic press for potatoes and makes the smoothest mash. If you have a food mill, that works perfectly too.
Just like an Italian grandma making pasta dough, I like to make my gnocchi on the counter. A well is made in the center of a pile of all-purpose flour, and the mashed potato is added. You can also use a large bowl if you prefer.
Homemade Gnocchi Recipe – Step by Step
Boil peeled potatoes in a pan of boiling water.
Drain the cooked potatoes and allow to cool.
Mashed the potatoes or run them through a ricer to make them as smooth as possible.
Flour, egg and salt are added to perfectly mashed potato. Everything is mixed and kneaded together to form the dough.
Using your hands, mix and slowing incorporate the flour and egg mix until the dough is no longer sticky and form a ball.
Dough tip: In addition to super soft potatoes, the other key to soft, fluffy dough is to only add enough flour to bring the dough together and not make it sticky. If the dough is sticky, there is too much moisture, so add a little flour. Do not over-knead the dough, as this will develop the gluten in the flour and make them tough.
A portion of the dough is cut and rolled into a ¾-inch (1.9 cm) thick log.
The log is cut into ¾-inch (1.9 cm) long pieces. You just made gnocchi!
Ever wonder how to get those ridges? Rolling the gnocchi over a gnocchi paddle/gnocchi board or the back of a fork is the way to create the ridges. The ridges are an important element of gnocchi, helping sauce stick to them. You can see the entire process in the attached video.
This recipe yields approximately 110 gnocchi. Depending on how many you serve per person, this serves 5-7 people.
As I mentioned, gnocchi takes a couple of minutes to cook in boiling water (a light rolling boil so they don’t break up). Once they float to the top, they are done, and you can simply remove them with a slotted spoon right into your preferred sauce.
If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how they turned out the comments below. I love to hear from my readers!