The traditional Italian homemade gnocchi are light, fluffy, they melt in your mouth and you can actually taste the potatoes.
Very different from the ones already made which tend to have too much flour because they have to last longer on the shelf. My husband calls them lead balls.
Also, some recipes use eggs, I don't. My homemade gnocchi are suitable for vegans.
They still have that firm consistency, but without the egg the taste of the potato prevail.
They are not difficult to make, you just need to follow some simple rules and you will have the most delicious and versatile base dish you can serve with a multitude of sauces.
Here I make the simple and most commonly used gnocchi sauce, which are seasoned with sage and butter, you can use any other sauce depending on how you plan to eat your gnocchi.
Sauces for Gnocchi
You can serve gnocchi in 3 different ways:
- As a main dish: use sauces with meat like Ragu for example. My favourite ragu to serve with gnocchi is Lamb ragu. (yes, I still have to publish the recipe and will do that next)
- As a side dish: like potatoes served as a side dish for meat or fish. You can simply flavour the gnocchi with some herbs and butter.
- As a starter: in Italy this is what we would call Primo Piatto, like pasta or risotto. You can use any pasta sauce you like. For a special meal I use truffles. We usually have it as a starter for our Christmas lunch.
To make fluffy and light homemade gnocchi I have 1 special secret, keep the flour in the dough to a minimum.
For 1 kilo of potatoes I use around 100 / 120 gr of flour not more (plus 3 tsp of salt).
Once the potatoes are mashed and completely cold I add only 100 gr of flour and I add more only if necessary.
Unfortunately there is an undesirable consequence for not adding too much flour to the dough.
Once the gnocchi are ready on the tray and you try to pour them in the boiling water, they will be stuck to the tray and mash as soon as you touch them.
Any humidity in your kitchen will soften the gnocchi, they will soak the vapour from your boiling pot of water while they are laying on the table, before they reach the pot.
To avoid this problem I make sure that:
- Once I shape the gnocchi I put them on a well floured tray and add more flour on top.
- I make sure the kitchen is well aired and does not have too much humidity.
- I don't let them rest for too long, usually I make them only 1 hour max 2 hours ahead, no more.
Have you noticed that my gnocchi do not have an indentation? They do not need it.
The indentation helps the sauce stick to the gnocchi, but because my gnocchi do not have a lot of flour they absorb the sauce anyway.
They are smaller and soft and will melt in your mouth.
But if you like the shape and have time on your hands, use a fork and add the indentation.
The gnocchi are cooked in hot salted boiling water, but they do not get drained like pasta or vegetables.
Once cooked they float in the boiling water, you can then remove them with a strainer ladle.
That is why it does not matter how much flour you are pouring over the shaped gnocchi to keep them loose on the tray.
The four will drop to the bottom of the boiling water, and when you drain the gnocchi with the ladle the flour will remain at the bottom of the pot.
Choosing the Potatoes
Use old big potatoes with a thick skin that are rich in starch and don't have too much water.
Choose potatoes for mash like Russets, Yukon golds, Desiree in France Amandine, Chérie or Pompadour.
Follow the recipe below and remember:
- Boil them with their skin for max 20 minutes
- When making the dough add just enough flour until the dough is smooth
- Once the gnocchi are ready cover the prepared gnocchi with a lot of flour so they will not stick to the tray
- Don't peel the potatoes before boiling them
- Don't use a blender to mash them otherwise they will become waxy
- Wait until the mashed potatoes are completely cold before adding the flour to make the dough
I find it very useful to sieve cooked fruits, tomatoes and potatoes.
It separates the skin directly so I don’t have to peel them.
It is perfect when you make gnocchi, they are mashed in a flash and you don t have to burn your hands to peel hot potatoes.
If you don t have one you can mash the potatoes with a hand mash or with a fork.
Fancy Homemade Gnocchi
If you want to make something very special, you can mix other vegetables to the potatoes and change the colour and flavour.
Here I mixed some cooked chestnuts.
Other vegetables often used are with sweet potatoes, squash, and why not trying with pumpkin.
You can experiment what you fancy, on 1 kilo of potatoes substitute 100 gr with your favourite vegetable.
Though make sure it is a dry vegetable otherwise you will have to add too much flour.
I will give to pumpkin gnocchi flavoured with cinnamon a try and I promise to get back to you with some results before Thanksgiving.
Happy homemade gnocchi making !
Looking forward to hear your gnocchi experience in the comments below
For measurement conversions see post: How much is a Cup in grams and the most useful cooking conversions
The traditional Italian homemade gnocchi are light, fluffy, they melt in your mouth and you can actually taste the potatoes. No eggs, they are vegan !
potatoes (4 large)
- salt and pepper
Clean the potatoes making sure all earth is removed
Boil 1 kilo of potatoes in salted water for 20 minutes
Strain off the water and while the potatoes are still hot pass through the strainer, I use kitchenaid vegetables strainer
If you don't have a vegetable strainer, peel the potatoes while still hot and mash them with a fork or a potato masher
Let the mashed potatoes cool down completely
Add only 100 gr of flour and the salt, mix and add more flour only if necessary
Once the dough has a nice consistency, roll it and cut the gnocchi into shape
Spread them on well floured tray and cover with flour so they do not stick to the tray and to each others
Boil them in salted water and when they start floating remove them from the water with a strainer ladle
Pour the cooked gnocchi in a pan and mix them with the sauce of your choice. Here I mix it with butter and sage
Calories 352 calories per serving
Fat 15 gr per serving
Carbohydrates 50 gr per serving
Cholesterol 36 mg
Proteins 6 gr per serving
Sugar 1 gr per serving
Sodium 48 mg per serving