Making gnocchi at home is a fun and simple way to enjoy a classic Italian dish.
When I first tried making these soft, potato-based dumplings, I was surprised by how straightforward it was. All you need is potatoes, flour, and a bit of time.
This recipe walks you through the steps to get that light and fluffy gnocchi, just like in Italy, but from your kitchen.
Whether you’re making gnocchi for the first time or looking to perfect your technique, this recipe will help you make delicious gnocchi to pair with your favorite Italian sauce.
The Basic Italian Gnocchi RecipeCourse: MainCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
This recipe is for basic (and authentic) potato gnocchi, an Italian dumpling dish. It involves boiling potatoes with their skins on, mashing them, and then mixing them with flour to form a dough.
Flavor is enhanced with a pinch of nutmeg, and an egg can be added if the dough is crumbly.
The dough is divided, rolled into logs, cut into pieces, and textured with a fork for sauce adherence. The gnocchi are then boiled until they float.
This straightforward recipe provides a homemade version of this classic Italian dish.
Potatoes: 2-1/2 pounds
Salt: 1 tablespoon (for boiling the potatoes)
Unbleached Flour: 1-1/2 cups
Freshly Grated Nutmeg: A pinch
Egg: 1 (optional, only if the dough doesn't come together)
- Boiling Potatoes: Place 2-1/2 pounds of potatoes, with peels on, in a 3-quart pot. Add cold water to cover the potatoes and mix in 1 tablespoon of salt. Boil until the potatoes are tender.
- Preparing Potatoes: While hot, peel the potatoes. Then, using a ricer, mash them onto a nonstick baking sheet. Allow the mashed potatoes to cool. Once cool, evenly sprinkle with 1-1/2 cups of unbleached flour.
- Forming the Dough: Gently combine the mashed potatoes and flour. Mix until a dough starts to form. If the dough is too crumbly, add one egg to help it bind.
- Adding Flavor: Add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg into the dough for added flavor.
- Shaping Gnocchi: Divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Roll each part into a finger-thick log. Cut these logs into 1/2-inch pieces using a sharp knife or dough scraper. To speed up the process, you can work with two logs at a time.
- Texturing Gnocchi: Roll each piece of dough over a fork, grater, or gnocchi paddle to create grooves. This helps the sauce cling to the gnocchi.
- Cooking Gnocchi: Boil a pot of salted water and cook the gnocchi in batches. They are ready when they float to the surface, which usually takes 2-3 minutes.
- Remember, for the best results, be gentle when mixing the dough and avoid overworking it to keep the gnocchi light and fluffy.
- This basic potato gnocchi recipe, using 2-1/2 pounds of potatoes and 1-1/2 cups of flour, typically serves about 4 to 6 people. The serving size can vary depending on portion preferences and whether the gnocchi is served as a main dish or a side. For larger groups, you might consider doubling the recipe.
- About calories: A rough estimate for a serving of potato gnocchi could be around 250-300 calories, depending on the size of the servings and whether any sauce or additional ingredients are included.
Gnocchi Recipe FAQ
What type of potatoes are best for gnocchi?
Floury potatoes like Russets are ideal for gnocchi because they’re starchy and help create a light, tender texture. Avoid waxy potatoes as they require more flour, which can make gnocchi dense.
Can I make gnocchi without a ricer?
Yes, you can use a grater or even mash the potatoes thoroughly with a fork. The goal is to get a smooth, lump-free texture. However, a ricer ensures the fluffiest texture.
How do I prevent my gnocchi from becoming gummy?
The key is to use as little flour as possible, just enough to bring the dough together. Too much flour or overworking the dough can result in gummy gnocchi.
Can I add flavors to my gnocchi dough?
Absolutely! Feel free to incorporate herbs, spices like nutmeg, or even puréed vegetables for color and flavor. Just be mindful of the moisture content when adding wet ingredients.
How can I tell when the gnocchi are cooked?
Gnocchi float to the surface of the boiling water when they’re about done. Let them cook for 30 seconds to a minute after they float up to ensure they’re cooked through.
Can I freeze homemade gnocchi?
Yes, gnocchi freeze well. Lay them out on a baking sheet to freeze individually, then transfer them to a freezer bag. Cook directly from frozen in boiling water.
Why did my gnocchi fall apart while cooking?
This usually happens if the dough lacks enough flour or is not compact enough. Ensure the dough feels cohesive, and test-cook a piece before shaping all your gnocchi.
How long can I store gnocchi in the refrigerator?
Shaped, uncooked gnocchi can be refrigerated on a floured baking sheet, covered, for up to 2 days. Cooked gnocchi should be eaten within 1-2 days.
What’s the best way to shape gnocchi?
You can roll the dough into logs and cut them into pieces. For traditional ridges, roll each piece over a fork, gnocchi board, or the back of a grater.
How do I ensure my gnocchi are all the same size?
Consistency is key for even cooking. Cut the dough into even pieces, and use a ruler or a guide if needed. Practicing will also help improve your consistency over time.
Can I use sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes?
Yes, sweet potatoes can make gnocchi, offering a different flavor and color. Adjust the flour quantity, as sweet potatoes may be more moist.
What sauces work well with gnocchi?
Gnocchi pairs beautifully with various sauces, from a simple sage and butter sauce to more robust tomato-based sauces or creamy gorgonzola sauce. Choose based on your preference.
Is gnocchi a sort of pasta?
No, gnocchi isn’t pasta. They’re potato dumplings, different in ingredients and texture. For more details, read our post: Is gnocchi considered a pasta?