Pasta, Pizza, Risotto, Vegan/Vegetarian

Homemade Purple Potato Gnocchi

Nicoletta November 14, 2020

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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.

Song of the day: Gloria by Umberto Tozzi

Homemade purple potato gnocchi-gnocchi on baking sheet

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.



 

Purple Potatoes

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.

Homemade purple potato gnocchi-purple-potatoes-in-basket

The last of the purple potatoes our friend Margaret, Kitchen Frau, gave us

Gnocchi Tips

  1. Do not remove the peel before boiling the potatoes, otherwise, they will absorb too much water. 
  2. Remove the peel when the potatoes are still hot.
  3. Pass the boiled potatoes through a potato ricer, instead of mashing them, this will ensure additional lightness and fluffiness. 
  4. 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. 
  5. Working on a wooden surface helps absorb excess moisture.

Italian language 101: gnocchi is a plural word, so in Italian we never say gnocchis.

Homemade Purple Potato Gnocchi

Step 1

  • 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.

Step 2 

  • 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.

Step 3

  • 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.

Step 4 

  • 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.

Homemade purple potato gnocchi-close up of gnocchi on baking sheet   

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.

Serving suggestion

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? 

Homemade purple potato gnocchi-plate of cooked gnocchi

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!

Enjoy!

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Homemade purple potato gnocchi-close up of gnocchi on baking sheet

Homemade Purple Potato Gnocchi

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta, Vegetarian
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

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.


Ingredients

For the gnocchi

  • 470 g purple potatoes
  • 110 g 00 flour + some for the board

For the dressing

  • 1 Tbsp e.v.o. oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  •  1/3 cup of crumbled gorgonzola
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 1 Tbsp pine nuts
  • Parmigiano to garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large pot add enough cold water and the potatoes with the skin on. Place the pot on medium heat and cook for about 35-40 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain and place in a bowl.
  2. 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.
  3. Then, place 2 peeled potatoes at a time in the ricer and pile the riced potatoes on the board.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Then, with a bench scraper or knife, cut pieces of dough about 1.5 in (3 cm).
  7. When you have little ‘nuggets’ of dough, it’s time to make the gnocchi shape.
  8. 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). As an alternative,  you can roll them on the back of a fork, or on the back of a grater (the smooth part of a cheese grater). You could also leave them like that, or make them round by shaping them in the palm of your hands.
  9. 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.

For the sauce

  1. In a saute pan heat up olive oil. Place in butter and let it melt, then add the crumbled gorgonzola, the sage leaves, and pine nuts. Cook till the sauce turns a nice light golden brown. Turn off heat and in the meantime, cook your gnocchi.
  2. Have a large pot with plenty of water (and coarse salt to taste) on the stove on medium/high heat.
  3. When the water is boiling, immerse the gnocchi delicately. You could place some at a time on a skimmer/strainer and submerge it in water.
  4. When they are all in the water, stir once gently, then do not stir during cooking, and wait until they slowly rise to the surface.
  5. 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!)
  6. Place the drained gnocchi in the saute pan with the butter gorgonzola sauce. Heat a touch making sure gnocchi are well coated.
  7. Pace some gnocchi onto a plate and grate some Parmigiano on top.
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes

This recipe is enough for two portions with leftover or three smaller ones. Keep the leftover gnocchi in a Tupperware in the fridge, then reheat in the saute pan until nice and crispy.

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Homemade purple potato gnocchi-plate of cooked gnocchi on board with glass of wine

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22 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply Jim Delaney November 16, 2020 at 9:04 am

    Ciao Nicoletta, What a great read! will definitely try making these beautiful purple gnocchi 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 16, 2020 at 10:27 am

      Ciao Jim! Happy you enjoyed the post. Hope you try making them, I’m sure you’ll love them! For any questions, please ask 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Chef Dennis November 18, 2020 at 3:26 am

    I love using purple potatoes and this recipe of yours is just so perfect and delicious.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 23, 2020 at 12:33 pm

      Thank you so much Chef Dennis. We really enjoyed these and so glad you love them too!
      Cheers!

  • Avatar
    Reply Shelley November 20, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    Oh my goodness, you two – this is such a terrific idea! Seriously gorgeous – I’ve never seen purple gnocchi before! But why not?? It makes total sense now that I think about it. And, as if it couldn’t get any better … that gorgonzola sage sauce and the pine nuts and parm. Wow. Just WOW.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 23, 2020 at 12:39 pm

      Thank you Shelly, we are smiling ear to ear listening to your words of encouragement. I know the color alone captivates you but the flavors of the gnocchi, with that sauce just blew us away!
      Happy cooking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Veronika November 20, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    OMG! They look amazing! I think it will be so much fun to make them with kids! They will love the color!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 23, 2020 at 12:40 pm

      That is a fantastic idea to make them with kids. I think they will be so thrilled and excited at the color and also how much fun these gnocchi are to make!
      Happy family fun cooking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Denise November 21, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    They look so pretty! I need to find me some purple potatoes to make your Gnocchi a try.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 23, 2020 at 12:41 pm

      Hi Denise I sure do hope you find the purple potatoes. Can’t wait to hear about your find and results!
      Cheers!

  • Avatar
    Reply Marwin Brown November 22, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    I’m lucky to have access to lots of purple potatoes. Would not have thought to make gnocchi with them. The recipe looks great, and the gorgonzola sauce sounds amazing.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 23, 2020 at 12:42 pm

      Wow that is wonderful that you have purple potatoes at your disposal. Now you know what to do with them!
      Happy gnocchi making!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jamie November 22, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    This is the first time I’ve seen purple gnocchi and it’s brilliant! I love the gorgeous color and how vibrant it looks! Saving to make this soon!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 23, 2020 at 12:43 pm

      Thank you Jamie, so glad you are excited about these purple gnocchi. Wait till you taste them!
      Cheers!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jo November 22, 2020 at 11:01 pm

    You had me at potato. Being an adrent potato addict, I love anything potatoes. And who can resist such fun colorful gnocchi! So good!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 23, 2020 at 12:45 pm

      That’s fantastic. We too are potato addicts and when we decided that the gifted purple potatoes would soon be gnocchi, we were very excited to get started. Oh they were so delicate and delicious!
      Have a wonderful day!

  • Avatar
    Reply Farrukh Aziz November 23, 2020 at 3:36 am

    I love anything potatoes and this potato gnocchi is making me drool, it is tempting me to try my hands on this. I am surely gonna make it soon. This gnocchi looks so colourful and amazing, bookmarking it! Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe ! 🙂

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 23, 2020 at 12:46 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words. We are very excited to hear that you want to make these. So beautiful to inspire people to make things and cook!
      Happy day to you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Natalie November 23, 2020 at 4:02 am

    Oh, this is a fantastic idea! So fun and looks amazing. I bet my family would love this. I must find purple potatoes on my local market and give this a try.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 23, 2020 at 12:47 pm

      Hi Natalie, oh I think your family are going to love these and they will be a popular request time and again!
      Happy cooking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Tracy November 23, 2020 at 7:15 am

    My 2 year old is obsessed with the color purple, lately. She had SO much fun watching me make these and gobbled them all up!! Thank you!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 23, 2020 at 12:48 pm

      Wow that is so terrific. I can see her smile and also that look of mmmmm these are so so good. WAT MORE!
      Lol!

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