Friday, October 10, 2014

Homemade Traditional Potato Gnocchi - Italian Dumplings

Homemade gnocchi made with potatoes: smooth and soft, and so incredibly delicious!

Today I'm ready to share the recipe for one of my favorite Italian dishes: traditional potato gnocchi, also known as Italian dumplings.
When I was little this was probably the one food I asked my mom to cook most often. And my kids absolutely love them too. You can serve them topped with a simple melted butter, sage and Parmesan cheese. Or they are also perfect with  Bolognese or tomato/basil sauce for a more savory taste. No matter what I choose, gnocchi are always welcomed at my table,
And would you like to know the secret to the perfect potato gnocchi? Do I hear a YES?!?
Here we go: to keep the gnocchi soft and smooth, not hard and too chewy, you need to use the least amount of flour that you can, without the gnocchi falling apart when you boil them. And it's simple: do not overcook the potatoes or they will absorb too much water. More water in the potatoes, more flour is needed when making the dumplings. What I generally do, is peel the potatoes before boiling to make my job easier and quicker later. If you do so, you have to pay close attention, and remove the potatoes from the water as soon as they are ready. The alternative is to boil the potatoes with their skin on. But you will need to peel and mash them when they are still hot.... Not as easy!
So the second part of my secret: don't wait to mash the potatoes when they cool down. This might be no secret to you if have made mashed potatoes before and decided to wait a bit before mashing. You end up with a grainy and coarse-y texture. Not so yummy!
Now that you know my secrets, you are ready to make the most amazing gnocchi you have ever tasted. Believe me :-)

Ingredients: makes 3 servings.

  • 3 russet potatoes, around 1.5 lb
  • 3/4 cup of all purpose flour, plus about 1/4 of a cup 
  • 1 egg
  • salt

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Step 1: Peel the potatoes and cut in half. Place the potatoes in a large enough pot, and cover with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, lower the flame to medium-low, and cook in a slow boil for about 15-18 minutes based on the size of the potatoes. Test with a fork. When ready, you should be able to stick the fork all the way in.

Step 2: Remove the potatoes promptly from the water, and pass them through  a ricer. In a large bowl, mix the 3/4 cup of flour (some at the time!) and the egg with the mashed potatoes. Don't overdo with the mixing, just combine until it holds together. Add more flour if needed.

Step 3: Move the potato mixture to a clean, lightly floured counter. Take some of the dough at a time, and roll it into a rope about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the gnocchi, about 3/4 inch length. Place the gnocchi over parchment paper, lightly floured. Don't overlap the gnocchi or they will stick together.
Step 4: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the gnocchi - some at the time if necessary. And let cook for about 2 - 3 minutes. You can remove them as soon as they rise to the surface. Drain well and serve with your favorite sauce.
Here are my gnocchi with melted butter, sage and lots of Parmesan cheese! Buon Appetito!


  1. These tips are really helpful to learn how to make perfect gnocchi each and every time (which certainly is not a given!). It is a simple recipe, yet a very tricky one because the cook has to have enough experience to know when enough is not too much, since you cannot give an exact amount of flour and just a little more makes a huge difference. And that amount changed everytime according to kind of potato you are using, the cooking time, the amounts etc.

    1. Thank you!! It is true that it can be tricky... but I hope this recipe helps!! Happy Cooking :)

  2. Can I make these ahead of time? If so, at what stage would I stop. Should I make them, but not boil them until ready to eat, or should I cook them and then reheat when ready to use them?

  3. Hi Jennifer! All great questions: I do sometimes prepare the gnocchi ahead of time, up to 2 or 3 hours before. You would just let them sit on the parchment paper (with flour or they will stick to the bottom) outside the refrigerator. I generally put them inside the oven turned off. And boil them at the last minute, before serving. If you want to make them the day before, I would suggest freezing them. To freeze you will need to put them in the freezer on the baking sheet (or again they will stick together). And once frozen you will store them in a sealed bag. From the freezer, they can go directly in boiling water... it will take a little extra time to cook. I hope this helps!