Making classic homemade Gnocchi is a lot easier than you think and more delicious than you can imagine! The best part is they require only 3 ingredients – potatoes, an egg and flour! The result is super-light, fluffy potato pasta with ridges to hold your favorite pasta sauce! My favorite way to serve them is to sautee them in brown-butter and parmesan cheese to get a slightly-crispy cheesy crust. The traditional way to serve them is to toss them in Marinara Sauce with fresh basil. Freshly grated parmesan cheese is a must!
My grandmother boiled peeled potatoes but I have learned that baking potatoes is much better. The trick to getting tender, fluffy Gnocchi is to remove a lot of the moisture from the potatoes. Bake them and split in half to let the steam escape. Problem solved! I also think baking unpeeled potatoes is easier too. Another tip is to always use Russet potatoes. If you bake the potatoes ahead of time, you can have classic homemade Gnocchi to the table in 30 minutes!
One more important tip: you should use a potato ricer tool to get the proper texture. Bonus use for the ricer is with cooked cauliflower for an outstanding and healthy mashed potato substitute! Riced Cauliflower also makes a fabulous pizza crust for anyone on a gluten-free diet. An optional tool is to use a gnocchi board to create the ridges. Most people use a fork to achieve the same effect.
Once you get the hang of making classic Gnocchi, you can vary the recipe by using sweet potatoes for a healthier and more colorful version!
Here is the Step-by-Step Guide to making Classic Homemade Gnocchi. The full recipe is below.
Rice the cooked potatoes using a potato ricer tool on a floured board. I like a marble pastry board for this task.
Form the potatoes in a mound with a well in the center. Sprinkle with flour, salt and add the egg to the center.
Mix the dough with a fork and your hands until fully incorporated. Use a pastry cutter to scrape up the bit and work back into the dough.
Knead a few times and add more flour if needed. Form a loaf shape.
Cut into 1 inch slices. The texture inside will have tiny air pockets. This is important for a light, fluffy gnocchi.
Roll each slice into a long rope. Cut the rope into 1/2 inches pieces. Keep the dough dusted with flour to prevent sticking.
With your thumb on the center of a piece, roll on a floured gnocchi board or fork tines to get the indentation in the middle and the ridges on the outside. It goes fast after you get the hang of it. Don’t be afraid of this part. It’s easy. If you mess up just reform the pillow shape with your hands and re-roll.
Boil the gnocchi right away and toss in your favorite pasta sauce. Or you can freeze them in a single layer in zip lock bags for later use.
This is boiled gnocchi sautéing in brown butter. Sprinkle with lots of parmesan cheese and a hit of freshly grated black pepper. YUM!
Classic Homemade Gnocchi
- 4 large Russet baking potatoes
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt + 1 tablespoons for pasta water
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ cup flour plus more for dusting
- Potato Ricer
- Marble or wood pastry board
- Pastry cutter
- Gnocchi form optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prick the potatoes with a fork all around, numerous times to allow the steam to escape. Place on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 1 hour or longer until fully cooked. Remove from the oven and cut them in half lengthwise. This will allow any extra steam to escape.
- When cool enough to handle scoop out as much of the cooked potato that you can without the skin. Set the scooped potato aside in a bowl.
- Dust flour on a board. Fill the potato ricer with a few chunks of scooped potato at a time and push the potato through. Allow the riced potatoes to fall on the floured board. It is easier to rice them while they are still warm. Repeat until all the potatoes are riced.
- With your hand, form the riced potatoes into a mound on the board. Create a well in the center. Sprinkle the salt and 1 cup of the flour over the potato. Add the egg to the center of the well. Using a fork, mix the egg with the flour and rice to get the dough started.
- With your hands, gently mix and knead until all the potatoes and ingredients are incorporated. Using a pastry scraper, scrape up the scrappy bits to work back into the dough. If the dough is too tacky or wet, add the remaining flour, a bit at a time, as needed. Gently knead the dough until it holds together and forms a ball. Do not overwork the dough to ensure a light fluffy gnocchi.
- Shape the dough into a loaf shape. Keep extra flour handy to dust as often as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. With the pastry scraper, slice the loaf into 1 inch slices. Using floured hands, roll each slice into a rope, about ½ inch thick. With the pastry cutter, cut the rope into pieces approximately ½ inch apart to form individual gnocchi.
- To complete the gnocchi shape, place one gnocchi gently on the tines of a floured fork, and using your thumb, roll the piece forward towards the ends of the tines. You will end up with an indent in the middle (where your thumb was) and ridges on the outside from the tines. These are critical to holding the sauce when cooked. Repeat on all pieces.
- To cook the gnocchi: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with 1 tablespoons salt. Add gnocchi in small batches to the boiling water and cook for 3-5 minutes or until they float. Drain with a slotted spoon and add to the pan with your pasta sauce. Toss and continue cooking 2-3 more minutes in the sauce.If you do not cook them right away, you can freeze them. Arrange gnocchi in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer for about 2 hours or until frozen. Transfer the gnocchi to a ziplock bag for storage up to 3 months. Cook gnocchi frozen in boiling water for 3-5 minutes.