Homemade gnocchi is a soft pillowy potato pasta that is made with simple ingredients. Making gnocchi at home is a fun project that is great for when you want to try something new.
Gnocchi from scratch may seem like a daunting process, but it is actually one of the easiest types of pasta to make. No rolling dough out into endlessly long, thin sheets, and no pasta maker necessary. While it does take some time to make, it is definitely worth it because homemade gnocchi tastes so much better than store-bought, and your family will be able to taste the love you put into making it!
What is Gnocchi?
Gnocchi is an Italian pasta that is like a little fluffy dumpling. In its simplest form, gnocchi is made with potatoes, eggs, and flour, some recipes also make it with ricotta or feta cheese. The dough is rolled and shaped into little lumps that are quickly boiled in salted water until they float to the top, indicating that they are finished cooking. Gnocchi can be sauteed with butter or any pasta sauce. A classic way gnocchi is served is sauteed in a brown butter sage sauce, it is deliziosa!
How to Make Gnocchi:
The first step to making gnocchi is to bake the potatoes. Baking the potatoes is preferred over boiling them because you don't want the dough to be water-logged.
Start with medium, quality russet potatoes and prick them several times with a fork. Brush the skin with olive oil and season with salt. Bake the potatoes until they are fork-tender and easily squeezed.
* If you do decide to boil the potatoes, boil them un-peeled so they don't absorb too much water.
Peel the potatoes when they are just cool enough to hold, you want them as warm as you are able to handle.
Pass the peeled potatoes through a potato ricer and place them in a pile on your counter.
*If you don't have a potato ricer you can attempt to pass the peeled potatoes through a metal sieve with a spoon. A potato masher is not recommended because it doesn't get rid of the lumps as efficiently. The smoother the potatoes are the easier it will be to shape the gnocchi.
Crack an egg into the center of the potato pile and begin making the dough. Add flour and knead with your hands until the dough is formed, if the dough is too sticky you can always add more flour.
Roll and Shape the Gnocchi:
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll each out into a long, skinny rope, about 1" in diameter. Take a sharp knife or a pastry wheel and cut the rope into 1-inch pieces. Now, if you do happen to own a gnocchi board, great! I don't, and so I use a fork to roll the gnocchi. This is the most tedious part! If you're lucky, maybe you can recruit some helping hands. Arrange your shaped gnocchi on a baking sheet.
Sorry if they start to look a little messier towards the end, I was getting really bored of rolling gnocchi!
Once you have all of the gnocchi shaped, plop them one at a time into boiling salted water. You may have to work in batches. Once they float to the top they are done. At this point, you can saute the gnocchi with your favorite pasta sauce and serve.
More Italian Pasta Recipes:
- potato ricer
- 2 medium russet potatoes
- 1 large egg
- 1½-2 cups all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Scrub potatoes clean, coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake on a baking sheet until very tender. About 1 hour.
- Let the potatoes cool just enough that you are able to handle them, they should still be as warm as possible for the dough to come together. Peel the potatoes and pass through a potato ricer.*
- Place the riced potatoes in a pile on a clean work surface. Add the egg to the center and then add flour, knead with your hands until a dough forms. How much flour you need will depend on the size of your potatoes, keep adding flour until the dough isn't too sticky.
- Before you begin shaping the gnocchi, get the boiling salted water ready. Add about 4 quarts of water to a large pot with 1-2 tablespoons of salt.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll each into a long skinny rope, about 1 inch in diameter. Use a pastry wheel or a sharp knife to cut the rope into 1-inch bite-size pieces.
- Use a fork or a gnocchi board to roll each piece and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Add gnocchi one at a time to the boiling water. Work in batches if needed. Once the gnocchi float to the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon and place back on the baking sheet.
- Serve gnocchi as you would any other pasta, tossed in your favorite pasta sauce or with butter and grated cheese.