Gnocchi is loved by many foodies, so unsurprisingly, we’re often asked how we make these delightful pillows of potato. Gnocchi first started being served as part of ‘Carnevale’ in Verona in 1531! A defining moment in this legendary celebration is Venerdì Gnocolar, which translates to ‘Gnocchi Friday’ in English. Taking place on the final Friday before Lent, this evening celebrates the simple yet indulgent delights of fresh gnocchi. Wondering how to make these spectacularly fluffy bundles of joy? Wonder no longer because we've put together a guide to all things gnocchi with our resident pasta expert, Chef Michaelangelo.
What is Gnocchi?
Did you know, ‘Gnocchi’ in Italian translates to ‘lumps’? Doesn’t sound particularly appetising, does it? While Gnocchi is a traditional Italian pasta shape, what makes it distinct, is that it uses potatoes as the main ingredient. Therefore, it’s commonly considered to be a dumpling.
Our Homemade Gnocchi Recipe
Prep time: 60 - 90 minutes
Cooking time: 2 - 3 minutes
Calories: 292 per serving
- Potato ricer
- Pasta cutter or scraper (not essential, a knife will do)
- Medium to a large pot
- 1kg potatoes (we recommend starchy potatoes such as Desiree potatoes)
- 300g “00” Flour
- 1 egg
Part 1: Cook the Potatoes:
- Place your potatoes in a pot of cold water and bring to the boil.
- Allow the potatoes to cook for 20-25 minutes.
Chef's Tip: Be careful not to break the skin of the potatoes! You do not want the potatoes to absorb too much water.
Part 2: Rice/Mash the Potatoes:
- Sprinkle your flour onto your work surface
- Use your hands to create a 'well' with the flour (check out our Definitive Guide To Making Homemade Pasta for some tips on how to do this)
- Remove the skin from the potatoes before using the potato ricer.
Part 3: Making the Potato Dough
- Create a well of flour and mashed potato
- Add the egg into the middle of the well
- Pour the remaining flour on top and around the well
- Now slowly work the flour, egg and potatoes together using a fork or your hands.
Try using your scraper to do this!
- Once everything is mixed nicely, gently knead the dough, as you would for ordinary pasta
- If the dough is too sticky, add more flour and knead again. However, ensure you don’t use too much flour as this will make it dense and tough.
How do you know when the dough is ready?
Usually, 10 minutes of kneading is required to ensure your dough is ready.
How to make the gnocchi shape
- Divide your dough into workable pieces, splitting into quarters is a good amount for this recipe.
- Flour your surface lightly
- Shape one piece of your dough into a long roll
- Use 1/4 of your dough and roll it out until it’s around 3/4” in diameter, creating a snake or rope of dough
- Using a pastry knife, cut the rope into lengths of 3/4”, creating little squares.
Roll each piece of dough in your hand. You may find it useful to sprinkle flour over the dough squares first. Begin creating little cylinders with your hands. This should only take a couple of seconds for each cylinder. Each cylinder should be the size of your thumb.
Using a gnocchi board or the back of a fork, shape your cylinders. Remember, the pattern affects how the sauce sticks to the gnocchi! You should also be careful not to squash the gnocchi.
- Roll the gnocchi down the gnocchi board
- Place each gnocchi on a floured oven tray/wooden board to avoid cluttering your workspace.
- Repeat steps 3 – 10 with the remaining pieces of dough.
How to Cook Gnocchi
Bring a pot of salted water to boiling point, place your gnocchi in the pot and wait until it has risen to the top.
How Long to Cook Gnocchi
As soon as it has risen to the top, your gnocchi is ready. Be sure to keep an eye out as this will happen very quickly. Otherwise, you’ll risk overcooking your gnocchi - leaving you with something that resembles mashed potato rather than pasta!
How to store Gnocchi
Made slightly more gnocchi than you anticipated? Perhaps you want to savour the fruits of your labour over several delicious meals? Below are a few simple steps for storing your fresh gnocchi, whether it’s cooked or uncooked:
- Place your gnocchi into a plastic container with an airtight lid
- If you need to store your gnocchi in layers, place some greaseproof paper or cooking parchment between each layer to prevent the gnocchi from sticking together.
Store in a refrigerator for up to 48 hours
What’s the best sauce for Gnocchi?
Not sure what to serve with gnocchi? Fortunately, gnocchi is incredibly versatile, so you really can’t go wrong when choosing an accompaniment. However, we do recommend you go with a lighter sauce. This will ensure that you retain that unique and delicious texture. A tomato and basil sauce is simple yet has a wonderful depth of flavour - reminding you why it is a hallmark of authentic Italian cuisine.
Alternatively, you could serve your gnocchi with pesto. Not only does pesto offer an exciting range of distinct flavours, but it also has the perfect consistency for your gnocchi’s delicate texture. Looking for some inspiration? Check out our recent article on the best sauces for gnocchi, or try out our recipe for our signature beef shin ragu.
Always fancied yourself as a sfoglina? Why not hone your skills at one of our pasta masterclasses? Led by experienced artisans with a passion for pasta, our classes provide everything you need to enable you to make an assortment of fresh pasta. Visit this page to find out more about our pasta making classes.
If you’re looking for a quicker way to sate your appetite for fresh gnocchi, take a look at our exquisite range of gnocchi dishes. All of our fresh pasta dishes are inspired by authentic Italian cuisine and use the finest fresh ingredients.
Why not see for yourself by visiting our weekly menu? We’re so sure that you’ll love our fresh pasta dishes, that we’re offering new customers 50% off their first order when they use the code BLOG50 at checkout.