Pasta, Pizza, Risotto, Vegan/Vegetarian

Homemade Potato Gnocchi

Nicoletta February 6, 2020

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Homemade Potato Gnocchi. Pillowy soft, made with potatoes and flour, these are the gnocchi my mom and grandma taught me to make. Gnocchi are simple to make but require some practice. The main mistake is to keep adding flour, the one responsible for gummy and hard gnocchi. Follow the tutorial and you’ll have the perfect texture!

Song of the day: Memories – Maroon 5.

Homemade Potato Gnocchi-closeup gnocchi in wood basket

If you already love gnocchi, then you’re in for a treat. My mom’s potato gnocchi have the perfect light texture, not too soft, not too hard, they just melt in your mouth and compliments any type of condiments. We dressed them with a simple tomato sauce, you can choose any sauce you like, white or red.

 

 

Potato Gnocchi, the way my family makes it

What I am sharing with you is a recipe handed down to me by my mother, grandma, and great grandma who I was lucky to have until my teenage years. The women in my family, including my aunt (mom’s sister), and my paternal grandma, have always made gnocchi with two ingredients: boiled potatoes and flour. I can’t tell you how many gnocchi I helped make, as a child.

Like many Italian recipes, every household claims their recipes to be the best and only one, not to mention the many regional variations. As a result, the main discussion about gnocchi is whether or not to use eggs. When I asked my mom, she was very firm to say “absolutely no eggs“.

Some say gnocchi with the egg in the dough are lighter, some say they are tougher and gummier. What I know for sure is that 1) we never added an egg, and 2) the less flour you add to the gnocchi, the softer and better they will become.

Homemade Potato Gnocchi – The Potatoes

Making potato gnocchi starts with choosing the right potatoes. New potatoes are not the best, since they have more water, and to compensate that, you need to add more flour. We usually choose red potatoes with a yellow flesh, rich in starch. In Italy, on the bag, usually, it says “perfect for gnocchi”. Do not remove the peel before cooking them, otherwise, they will absorb too much water. Choose potatoes more or less the same size, so they will cook evenly.

  • First of all, boil the potatoes with the peel in abundant cold water until they are soft when you prick them with a fork. Drain the potatoes, remove the peel (yes, when still hot), then pass them through a potato masher (ricer). Do this directly onto the pastry board.
  • When the potatoes are mashed, let them cool slightly then mix with the sifted flour. TIP: Practice makes perfect, however, to start, the proportion of flour to add to 1 kg of potatoes, boiled and mashed, is approximately 25 to 30% of the weight of the potatoes.
Homemade Potato Gnocchi – The Flour

As you see in the pictures, to knead gnocchi I use a wooden surface. It helps absorb excess moisture, moreover, it is the one I always use to make pasta and pastry dough, bread or pizza. Together with a scale, they are my two indispensable allies in the kitchen.

  • As for the flour, we use 00 flour because it is finer. You could also use some semolina, or experiment with gluten-free flour if that’s your case. We had 500 g of mashed potatoes and I added 150 grams of 00 flour, plus I kept some on the side that I added to the ropes as I was shaping them.  We do not add salt, neither to the dough nor to the cooking water when making gnocchi. That’s your choice. 
  • Mix very little and quickly, just enough to combine the ingredients (working the dough too much, releases the moisture and you are tempted to add more flour!). Form a “loaf” and keep some flour on the side.
  • Cut a slice of the dough at a time, dust some flour on the board and start making a long rope about 1.5 cm round, adding some flour as needed when rolling the “rope”. With a knife, cut pieces of dough about 1.5-2 cm.
  • When you have little nuggets of dough, it’s time to make the gnocchi shape. My mom taught me to make a slight dimple in the center with my index finger (which will welcome a puddle of sauce when cooked!). Press lightly in the middle with your index finger going towards you. The piece of dough should turn upside down and leave the dimple in the dumpling. Needless to say, it doesn’t work if you have long nails. You could just press them lightly to create the “dimple”.

TIP: If you want gnocchi with the ridges, you can roll them on the classic wooden tablet, on the prongs of a fork, on the back of a grater (the smooth part), by pressing gently.  You could also leave them like that, or make them round by shaping them in the palm of your hands. Ridges and dimples are meant to be the best in order to let the sauce stick to the gnocchi that otherwise would be too smooth.

  • As they are ready, put them on floured trays (we have a fairly big old wood board) making sure they do not overlap and sprinkle a little more flour on the gnocchi.

Keep in mind that gnocchi must be cooked fairly soon after they’re ready, within an hour at the latest, because the dough quickly becomes moist and mushy.

TIP: If you don’t have to cook gnocchi immediately, don’t leave them waiting but freeze them. First arrange them on a tray, place it in the freezer, and then, once frozen, transfer them to a Ziplock bag. Better freeze single portions, or the desired quantity, to have them ready when needed. When you want to use them, you can throw them directly into the boiling salted water and dress them with your favorite sauce.

My father had already prepared a simple tomato sauce to dress our gnocchi. Time to cook them.

Cooking Gnocchi
  • When it is time to cook them, remove the excess flour. Cook your gnocchi in a large pot with plenty of water (and coarse salt if you wish so). As soon as the water is boiling, immerse the gnocchi delicately, mix them gently, then do not turn during cooking, and wait until they slowly rise to the surface.
  • Potato gnocchi are ready when they all rise to the surface and the water is foamy.
  • Drain them with a skimmer (avoid draining them in the colander!) and place them in a big bowl where you added some of the sauce at the bottom.
  • Pour more sauce on top of your gnocchi and a generous grating of Parmigiano Reggiano. Stir gently and serve into bowls. 

Homemade Potato Gnocchi-bowl

These potato gnocchi are light and tender, but not too soft as to dissolve in your mouth (or even worse, in the pot of boiling water, lol!). They have a delicate and dominant potato flavor and are perfect with any type of sauce, white or red. Some of the typical sauces include: pesto, gorgonzola, meat ragù, vegetarian ragù, tomato sauce, squash and pancetta.

We served them with a simple tomato sauce made with onion, carrot, and celery, and lots of grated Parmigiano on top. Those dimples were the perfect vehicles for the sauce. 

 Song of the day: Memories – Maroon 5.

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Homemade Potato Gnocchi-bowl

Homemade Potato Gnocchi

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta, Vegetarian
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Homemade Potato Gnocchi. Pillowy soft, made with potatoes and flour, these are the gnocchi my mom and grandma taught me to make. Gnocchi are simple to make but require some practice. The main mistake is to keep adding flour, the one responsible for gummy and hard gnocchi. Follow the tutorial and you’ll have the perfect texture!


Ingredients

  • 500 g boiled potatoes, passed through a ricer
  • about 150 g flour type 00, plus more for dusting (200 g total, max)

Instructions

  1. First of all, boil the potatoes with the peel in abundant cold water until they are soft when you prick them with a fork.
  2. Drain the potatoes, remove the peel (yes, when still hot) and pass them through a potato masher (ricer). Do this directly onto the pastry board.
  3. When the potatoes are mashed, let cool slightly, then add the flour and mix very little and quickly, just enough to combine the ingredients (working the dough too much, releases the moisture and you are tempted to add more flour!). Form a “loaf” and keep some flour on the side.
  4. Cut a slice of the dough at a time, dust some flour on the board and start making a rope about 1.5 cm round, dusting some more flour as needed as you’re rolling the rope.
  5. With a knife, cut pieces of dough about 1.5-2 cm.
  6. When you have little nuggets of dough, it’s time to make the gnocchi shape. My mom taught me to make a slight dimple in the center with my index finger. Press lightly in the middle with your index finger going towards you. The piece of dough should turn upside down and leave the dimple in the dumpling. Needless to say, it doesn’t work if you have long nails. You could just press them lightly to create the “dimple”. If you want gnocchi with the ridges, you can roll them on the classic wooden tablet, on the prongs of a fork, on the back of a grater (the smooth part), by pressing gently.  You could also leave them like that, or make them round by shaping them in the palm of your hands.
  7. As they are ready, put them on floured trays making sure they do not overlap and sprinkle some more flour on the gnocchi.
  8. Have a large pot with plenty of water (and coarse salt if you wish so) on the stove on medium/high heat. When the water is boiling, immerse the gnocchi delicately, mix them gently, then do not turn during cooking, and wait until they slowly rise to the surface.
  9. Potato gnocchi are ready when they all rise to the surface and the water is foamy. Drain them with a skimmer (avoid draining them in the colander!) and place them in a big bowl where you added some of the sauce at the bottom.
  10. Pour more sauce on top of your gnocchi and a generous grating of Parmigiano Reggiano. Stir gently and serve into bowls.

Notes

If you don’t have to cook gnocchi immediately, don’t leave them waiting but freeze them. First arrange them on a tray, place in the freezer, and then, once frozen, transfer them to a Ziplock bag. Better freeze single portions, or the desired quantity, to have them ready when needed. When you want to use them, you can cook them directly into the boiling salted water and then dress them with your favorite sauce.

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17 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply Erin February 9, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    We LOVE making homemade gnocchi. It really is heavenly. LOVE this recipe.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 12, 2020 at 12:41 am

      Thank you so much! Yes, when done right gnocchi are heavenly.

  • Avatar
    Reply Shailaja Desai February 10, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    Love making Potato Gnocchi…this looks great and love that you have used a ricer to mash the potatoes…it makes the potatoes so very smooth and lump free

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 12, 2020 at 12:43 am

      Great to hear you love making gnocchi! Using a ricer is one of the important steps to have good gnocchi. Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Vanessa February 11, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Gnocchi is one of my favourite things to order out. I have been a little too intimidated to try them at home. Thanks for the detailed recipe!!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 12, 2020 at 12:44 am

      They are not the easiest to make, I have to admit. The less ingredients they have, the trickier the recipe 🙂 . You’re welcome, hope this helps.

  • Avatar
    Reply Jessica February 11, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    I absolutely love gnocchi! I usually make a ricotta version as I’ve found potato-based recipes intimidating but you’ve made it so clear and detailed. Look forward to trying this!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 12, 2020 at 12:45 am

      I love making ricotta gnocchi! They are easier and lighter. This recipe helps you make gnocchi that are just as light, but with potatoes. Hope you try! Thanks!

  • Avatar
    Reply NANCY WU February 12, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    love a good ricotta gnocchi!! gonna try this!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 12, 2020 at 12:13 pm

      Hope you try! They’re pretty good potato gnocchi, almost as light as ricotta gnocchi.

  • Avatar
    Reply Denise@urbnspice February 12, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    Potato Gnocchi is comfort food at its best, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing your technique and tips – I really want to try the little dimple in the middle. It is so efficient! Thank you for sharing another lovely recipe.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 14, 2020 at 12:08 am

      Thank you, Denise, yes, it is 🙂 . You’re very welcome, hope you try my mom’s tips for making gnocchi!

  • Avatar
    Reply Bernice Hill February 13, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    Such a bowl of comfort right there. Oh to be a fly on the wall in your Italian kitchen!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 14, 2020 at 12:09 am

      Thank you! My parents would be thrilled to have you at lunch or dinner with us! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Katherine | Love In My Oven February 15, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    I’ve never made my own gnocchi but I’d really, really like to try. This is such an informative post! My family would be thrilled if I served this to them for dinner 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Devyn March 10, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    The texture of this gnocchi is so creamy! Love this recipe 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 11, 2020 at 1:42 am

      Thank you, Devyn! Glad you like it! To make them harder just add some more flour while you knead them 🙂 .

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