I love pasta but every once in a while I will make gnocchi, a fluffy potato dumpling that, when made correctly, will melt in your mouth leaving you wanting more and more! This is not a difficult recipe. Anyone can make gnocchi to die for, even you!
Our family didn’t grow up preparing gnocchi. I don’t recall us ever eating this at home. About 15 years ago I met a wonderful lady from Italy who lived in my neighborhood. We became instant friends. She invited us over for a gnocchi dinner and that was the end of it! My children ranted and raved and wanted me to make it all the time. My friend gave me her recipe and I did make it a few times but being a full-time working mom gave me little time to do it often. Unfortunately I lost her written recipe but it remained etched in my mind. The following recipe is to her credit with a few little additions of my own.
There are several creative ways to make gnocchi but most make it with a simple potato, egg and flour recipe. Some may add ricotta cheese, Parmigiano or Romano. Others may use different types of flour, including all-purpose, superfine or semolina.
Gnocchi toppings and sauces vary widely! Feel free to be creative with your accompanying sauce. Gnocchi is extremely versatile when it comes to sauces and will go well with anything from simple tomato sauce , Bolognese, brown butter, etc. all the way up to complex sauces such as Gorgonzola cream sauce, wild mushroom or Vodka cream sauce. Once you have your gnocchi making down to a science don’t be afraid to experiment with different sauces and/or cheeses .
Today we will make a fail safe recipe from ingredients that anyone can find at their local grocery store! Gnocchi goes perfect with my Simple Tomato Sauce Recipe. If you are planning to use a pre-made jarred sauce from the market do be sure it is one of the higher end brands. The cost for a quality jarred sauce is between $7.00 and $10.00 per jar, sometimes even higher, but it is well worth it if you aren’t making your own sauce from scratch.
The following recipe makes approximately 80 to 85 Gnocchi.
2 pounds of baked russet potatoes – about 5 medium
,(oven baked at 425 degrees F for approximately 45 minutes or until a fork passes through easily)
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
For the Table
Additional Pecorino cheese
Crushed red pepper
Substitute Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for Pecorino Romano cheese
Add 1/2 cup pitted, halved Italian olives to your Marinara sauce such as Calamata or Castelvetrano
Bake potatoes at 425 degrees F for 45 to 60 minutes, until a fork passes easily through the potatoes. Let cool. Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and place them in a bowl. I usually just cut them in half and scoop the potato meat out with a spoon. Discard the skins. Mash potato meat very well or put through a potato ricer.
Add 1 1/2 cups of flour, Pecorino cheese and salt to the potatoes and gently mix together until completely incorporated. Add beaten egg, a little at a time, just until the dough is able to bind together. You will have some egg left over. Mix gently but well. If the mixture feels too sticky add some more flour a little at a time. If it is too dry add more egg, a tsp at a time. Do not overwork the dough. Gnocchi dough doesn’t feel like bread dough. It should be bound together but still feel light and fluffy. If the dough is overworked there’s a good chance that you could produce dense, rubbery gnocchi. The aim is for soft, fluffy dumplings.
Once you have your dough formed, turn out onto a floured cutting board (use your remaining flour) or counter top. Cut dough in half then in half two more times. You will now have 8 pieces of dough.
Roll out each section of dough into long strands about to 3/4 inch to 1 inch thick, adding more flour onto your board as needed to prevent gnocchi from sticking together or adhering to your work surface. Cut strips into 1 1/2 inch pieces and gently roll over fork tines to make ridges in the gnocchi pieces.
If you have a large amount of gnocchi and don’t want to cook it all at once simply place gnocchi in an air tight container and store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or freeze for later use.(see below for storing and freezing instructions*) I like to make large batches and freeze some for later use because it’s a moderately time consuming recipe.
Place gnocchi, one piece at a time, in a pot of salted boiling water. Gently stir to keep gnocchis from sticking together. Cook in several batches, about 15 to 20 pieces at a time. It takes a short amount of time for gnocchi to cook, about 3 or 4 minutes. When the gnocchi floats to the top it is done.
As the gnocchi float to the top, remove with a slotted spoon and place over a layer of sauce on your serving vessel. Once all the gnocchi has been placed in your serving dish add a little cracked pepper then toss with your remaining sauce. Top with 2 Tbsp of Pecorino cheese and do offer more cheese along with some crushed red pepper at the table.
*To freeze gnocchi: Place gnocchi in a single layer on a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet and place sheet in freezer. Once gnocchi is completely frozen transfer to a zip up freezer bag or container and place back into freezer.
*To store fresh gnocchi in the refrigerator: place gnocchi in an air tight container with a piece of parchment or wax paper between each single layer of gnocchi.
I hope you enjoy making home made gnocchi from scratch. Ciao for now!