Made From Scratch: Perfect Gnocchi Recipe (2024)

Made From Scratch: Perfect Gnocchi Recipe (1)

Dear Reader, I was up until this year, a complete gnocchi failure. I had tried at least a dozen times to master gnocchi and ended up with lumpy, heavy, starchy bullets. In fact, I think that's what one of my ex boyfriend's called them (and no, that's not why he was an ex ;) ). I hurtled from making pumpkin gnocchi which was an unmitigated, sloppy mess to gnocchi made with instant mashed potato no less. You see a chef had told me that to make good gnocchi you needed the potato to be very dry. He made his with Deb instant mashed potato powder.

Made From Scratch: Perfect Gnocchi Recipe (2)

I was so excited about the idea of mastering gnocchi that I went to buy some instant mash and made it immediately. It was possibly the worst batch of gnocchi I had made. But enter Francesca. She is the mother of Tony Sabia of Puntino Trattoria in Darlinghurst. Every Wednesday morning, passersby see Francesca working away in the window from 5am until midday making pasta for the restaurant.

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Their specialties are the gnocchi and "ferrietti con la mollica" a pasta made with a wire that must be rolled individually taking about two hours to work on two kilos of flour. Francesca's recipes are handed down from her grandmother and the family comes from the Basalicata region in Potenza province in a town called Viggianello, an ancient village of just over 3,000 inhabitants.

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The gnocchi however, was a cinch and Francesca was going to be kind enough to show me how to make it. Francesca was softly spoken and warm and her eyes sparkled when we started to make the pasta. Her gnocchi was light, silky and simple to make with only two ingredients: potato and flour.

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Use a fine 00 Italian flour.The key to gnocchi is to not allow the potato to take in too much flour which can weigh it down so ensure that the potato is completely cool by the time you add the flour which is in fact the thing that takes the longest. After that, it's really a matter of rolling, cutting and cooking the gnocchi. For the final step of rolling them, Francesca uses a special flour from Weston's Milling called Continental Sharps (sometimes called Continental Flour) which is coarsein texture, between an all purpose flour and a fine semolina.

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As I sunk my teeth into the sublime pillows of gnocchi, I felt relief and joy that I was no longer a gnocchi failure. And now I pass on Francesca's foolproof perfect gnocchi recipe so that you can avoid potato bullets or grenades (don't ask, one time they really were large grenades ;) ).

So tell me Dear Reader, is there an item that you have been unable to make? And have you ever tried making gnocchi?

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Perfect Gnocchi

Did you make this recipe? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella

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Print Recipe

Francesca's top tips for gnocchi:

  • Use a starchy potato like desiree potatoes

  • Boil potatoes in their skins

  • Use a potato ricer to mash them (do not use a food processor)

  • You don't need egg, only potato and flour

  • Cook gnocchi once they are shaped-because you don't want to add too much flour

  • 1 kilo desiree potatoes

  • 350g Italian 00 flour plus extra for the board

  • Your favourite sauce to serve it with (pesto, simple tomato, browned butter & sage, whatever takes your fancy)

  • You will also need a knife or pastry cutter and a ridged gnocchi board or fork

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Step 1 - Boil the potatoes in their skins until soft. While the potatoes are still hot, take a potato ricer and push the whole potatoes through it making mashed potato. Discard the skins. Allow to cool completely - you can spread the mashed potato out onto a clean surface to facilitate cooling.

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Made From Scratch: Perfect Gnocchi Recipe (10)

Made From Scratch: Perfect Gnocchi Recipe (11)

Step 2 - Put a very large pot of water onto boil as you want to cook the gnocchi straight away. Add the flour to the potato mixture and mix together until you get a cohesive dough. Take the dough and pinch off handfuls and roll it out into a log shape. If this is long, cut it in half or you can line up several logs together (making sure to flour them lightly on the outside so that they don't stick.

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Step 3 - Cut them into small pieces. Using the gnocchi board, roll the pieces onto the ridged gnocchi board to get the gnocchi pattern. You can be quite firm with them and "flick" them off the board. You actually flatten them on the board and they curl around so that they aren't completely solid and have a cavity in the back of the ridge (see image below). They look a little like ears! If you use a fork, simply press the fork tines gently into the gnocchi pillows.

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Top: pressing down firmly on the board; middle flipping the pieces; bottom, Francesca's advanced moves using a fork on her thumb!

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Step 4 - Start to heat your sauce in a separate pan. Place the gnocchi in the boiling water and they're done once they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in the sauce and bathe the gnocchi in sauce and serve immediately. You can also place the cooked gnocchi in a lightly oiled baking dish and toss so that they don't stick together.

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Published on 2013-03-08 by Lorraine Elliott.

Made From Scratch: Perfect Gnocchi Recipe (2024)

FAQs

How to cook gnocchi perfectly? ›

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then turn down to a simmer, and tip in half the gnocchi. Stir, then wait for them to rise to the surface. Count slowly to 10, then remove with a slotted spoon, and tip into whatever sauce you're using.

What is the best flour for gnocchi? ›

Plus, it has too much protein: High-protein wheat results in chewy gnocchi. If you want to be true to Italian gnocchi, look for imported Italian flour marked "00 tenero," which is milled from soft wheat with a low protein content.

Is gnocchi better with or without egg? ›

Egg yolk added to your gnocchi dough helps improve texture, and keep it together while cooking. Gnocchi is traditionally made with eggs in Veneto and no eggs in Piedmont, the two Northern Italian regions famous for gnocchi. We vote for egg yolks at the rate of 1 per (500g) 1 lb of uncooked potatoes used.

What kind of potatoes are best for gnocchi? ›

WATCH: Karen Martini's potato gnocchi

Floury potatoes like Desirees are usually considered the best, followed by Royal Blues and King Edwards if they're available. Floury potatoes work well because they keep their shape after being cooked, which is important for well-formed (and therefore well cooked) gnocchi.

Is it better to boil or fry gnocchi? ›

The downside is that boiling can result in gummy, waterlogged gnocchi if you cook them too long. This is more of an issue when boiling store-bought gnocchi than with homemade ones. Frying gnocchi in a little butter or oil takes more effort, and the dumplings will be crisp on the outside, chewy and soft on the inside.

How do you cook gnocchi so it is not mushy? ›

When cool enough to handle, scrape off the skins and push the potato through a ricer or food mill, then, while still warm, start working your dough on a floured work surface. (Here, Davies offers up another tip to fight the mush: “Spread out the mash to cool; the escaping steam will further take away any moisture.”)

Is it better to boil or bake potatoes for gnocchi? ›

The secret to the lightest, most tender potato gnocchi is to bake the potatoes instead of boiling them. A baked potato is dryer than one that has been boiled, which means you avoid having to add more flour to the dough to account for excess moisture, a practice that leads to over-kneaded, tough gnocchi.

Why is my homemade gnocchi chewy? ›

Chewy gnocchi are the result of too much flour and over kneading the dough. It's important to knead the dough just until it comes together into a smooth ball and no more. This is because you don't want to encourage too much gluten development which makes them tough, chewy and rubbery.

What is the secret to gnocchi? ›

For gnocchi with a fluffy texture, don't knead the dough past the point where the flour is fully incorporated into the potatoes. Think large lemon size when you tear off a piece of dough to roll out. Move the palms of your hands back and forth to roll the torn-off portion into a long rope.

Why does my gnocchi fall apart when I cook it? ›

If the gnocchi fall apart or appear to be fraying at the edges, it can mean one of two things: You let them cook for too long or, even worse, you didn't combine the potato and flour into true dough. In the latter case, it's back to square one.

Are gnocchi healthier than pasta? ›

Nutritional Value

Believe it or not, regular pasta is actually more carb-heavy than gnocchi, coming in at around 2 times the amount of carbs per serving. Gnocchi is also notorious for having a lot more sodium, with over 200 grams of it per serving. Regular pasta doesn't have nearly as high of a sodium content.

Why are russet potatoes best for gnocchi? ›

Russets are dryer and hold less water, making them ideal for gnocchi making. Because of their dry and starchy texture, they may require less flour than other varieties, yielding an airier texture, and making them an excellent choice for a beginner or anyone who wants a no-fuss gnocchi experience.

Does gnocchi dough need to rest? ›

Gently bring the dough together to form a cohesive ball. You do not need to “work” the dough (this is not pasta or bread dough). The texture should feel warm, light, fluffy and smooth, like a giant mashed potato ball. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Are yellow potatoes the same as Yukon Gold? ›

The bottom line: Potato labels refer to the color of a potatoes' flesh; potatoes labeled “gold” or “yellow” are not Yukon Gold potatoes, but they can be used in place of Yukon Gold potatoes in recipes.

How do you cook pre packed gnocchi? ›

Store-Bought Gnocchi: If you are using store-bought, packaged gnocchi, it is typically pre-cooked and only needs to be briefly boiled before adding to the soup. Follow the package instructions, which often recommend boiling for 2-3 minutes or until the gnocchi floats to the surface of the boiling water.

Why is my gnocchi mushy after boiling? ›

Your gnocchi may be mushy because of any or all of the following reasons: boiled the potatoes instead of baked them. used waxy new potatoes with too much moisture in them. not used eggs to help texture.

Is it better to steam or boil potatoes for gnocchi? ›

We recommend steaming, rather than boiling, as it prevents the potatoes retaining moisture before mashing and turning into gnocchi.

Why is my gnocchi falling apart when boiling? ›

Test the Gnocchi:

Right after making your dough, cut off a small, bite-size piece of gnocchi, roll it over a gnocchi board if you wish, and boil it until tender. If it stays together, it's good to go! If it disintegrates, you need more flour.

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