Homemade Purple Potato Gnocchi, light, pillowy gnocchi have a vibrant color due to beautiful purple potatoes. With step by step pictures, I will show you how to make these traditional Italian dumplings with only two ingredients: purple potatoes and flour. We served them in a butter gorgonzola sage sauce with pine nuts and Parmigiano. A delicious dish, perfect for a date night.
Who doesn't love gnocchi, this wonderful Italian classic? I have yet to meet somebody. Actually, more often than not, gnocchi is listed as number one on people's list of favorite pasta dishes. If you already like regular potato gnocchi, you will love the pop of color of these purple potato gnocchi. Follow me, and you can surprise your family with homemade gnocchi for your next lunch or dinner.
Song of the day: Gloria by Umberto Tozzi
Anthocyanins are the pigments in the potato that give it the purple hue. In addition to adding color to your plate, anthocyanins have extra benefits: they protect your cells from oxidative damage, may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer, and also offer protection to your brain to prevent cognitive decline.
Purple potatoes have been valued in South America for centuries, but they have recently grown in popularity in Western culture due to their unique color and health benefits.
Purple potatoes are versatile: they can be enjoyed roasted, baked, boiled, and also make good french fries.
- Do not remove the peel before boiling the potatoes, otherwise, they will absorb too much water.
- Remove the peel when the potatoes are still hot.
- Pass the boiled potatoes through a potato ricer, instead of mashing them, this will ensure additional lightness and fluffiness.
- Mix very little and quickly the still-warm riced potatoes with the sifted flour. You do not want to release too much moisture because then you are tempted to add more flour. Adding more flour lends to hard, gummy, chewy gnocchi. With practice you will feel at the touch when the dough is right, however, to start, the proportion of flour to add is approximately 25 to 30% of the weight of the potatoes.
- Working on a wooden surface helps absorb excess moisture.
Italian language 101: gnocchi is a plural word, so in Italian we never say gnocchis.
- In a large pot add enough cold water and the potatoes with the skin on. Place the pot on medium heat and boil for about 35-40 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain and place in a bowl.
- Working on a clean surface (for me, the wood board), start peeling the boiled potatoes when still warm but not to the point to burn yourself. I usually have a bowl with cold water near me so I can dip my fingers in to cool them a bit.
- Then, insert 2 peeled potatoes at a time in the potato ricer, press down with the sturdy handles, and pile the riced potatoes on the board.
Using a potato ricer gives fluffiness and airiness to the potatoes.
- At this point, add your flour gradually, incorporating it in the potatoes while kneading. 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 an oval “loaf” and keep some flour on the side.
- Cut a slice of the dough at a time, lightly dust some flour on the board, and start making a rope about 1.5 cm round.
- Then, with a bench scraper or knife, cut pieces of dough about 1.5 in. (3 cm).
- When you have little ‘nuggets’ of dough, it’s time to make the gnocchi shape.
- Press gently with your finger (you can use your thumb I prefer my index finger) as you roll them on the classic wooden gnocchi board (rigagnocchi) you see in the picture. I bought that one at 'Eataly' in Rome. As an alternative, you can roll them on the back of a fork or on the back of a grater (the smooth part). You could also leave them like that, or make them round by shaping them in the palm of your hands.
- Gnocchi done with the gnocchi board will have a dimple on one side (where you gently pressed your finger) and ridges on the other side (where they rolled on the board). Ridges and dimples are ideal vehicles for the sauce to sit in!
- As they are ready, put them on a well-floured tray making sure they do not overlap, and sprinkle some more flour on the gnocchi.
How to Cook Gnocchi
- Gnocchi must be cooked fairly soon after they’re ready, within an hour at the latest, because the dough quickly becomes moist and mushy.
- When it is time to cook them, remove the excess flour. Place a large pot with plenty of water (and coarse salt) on the stove on medium heat. As soon as the water is boiling, immerse the gnocchi delicately, stir once gently, then do not stir 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 toss them delicately with your favorite sauce.
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.
As a matter of fact, we boiled them and then tossed them in a butter gorgonzola sauce with sage and pine nuts. A dusting of grated Parmigiano and there you have it, a delicious dish, perfect for a date night. For us, it was a date lunch and we ate from one bowl, straight on the board where I made the gnocchi. Romantic, isn't it?
Light and pillowy!
What separates these gnocchi from store-bought is the texture: light and with tremendous flavor. As I bit in it seemed as though I was eating a cloud. They just melt in my mouth and that nuttiness of the purple potato is not masked by the sauce but enhanced in such a balanced and beautiful way. Likewise, the salty pungent nature of the Gorgonzola combined with the sweet caramel of the butter and hints of Parmigiano are just sheer delight to my palate! Furthermore, those little morsels of pine nuts are a wonderful textural addition!
This is a meal that makes you feel good all over, good mood food at its best!