I Heart – Gnocchi Edition

30 Apr

Gnocchi (pronounced “nee-YOCK-ee”), little dumplings made out of potato, semolina or ricotta, are one of my favorite things in the world.  The potato variety, especially.  If prepared properly, the texture of the dumplings is firm and satisfying.  The light potato flavor gives it a subtle sweetness.  With a meat sauce or pesto – absolutely delicious.

Typically, if you are making gnocchi, it is sensible to prepare in advance.  At the least, you should be sure you have all the ingredients before you begin.  Yesterday around 4 in the afternoon, I spotted two russet potatoes in our pantry and decided to make gnocchi.  I made them sort of haphazardly as I watched the Royal Wedding out of the corner of my eye.  I suppose I could have paid more attention (I will point out things that could have been done differently), but, overall, it turned out OK.

Potato Gnocchi


4-5 Yukon Gold or 2-3 Russet Potatoes (I used Russet but the Yukon Gold potatoes are better – they are more buttery and rich in flavor)

Flour (you will need lots of it – just keep the bag out)

Homemade tomato sauce or pesto

Parmesan cheese



Boil a large pot of water.  In the meantime, wash the skin of the potatoes thoroughly to get the dirt and whatever else off.  Boil potatoes in water until tender all the way through.  (Due to the pomp and circumstance of the Royal Wedding, I peeled my potatoes without thinking.  You shouldn’t peel them before boiling because they will absorb too much water.  If you make that same mistake, cut them in half and dry them well with a towel when you pull them out of the water.)

Using a fork, gently peel the skin off of the boiled, tender potatoes.  Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer and into a large bowl.

(If you don’t have a potato ricer, mash the potatoes thoroughly with a fork and spread the mashed potatoes out on a large piece of parchment paper.  Tape the parchment to your counter so it doesn’t slide around.  Roll a wine bottle like a rolling pin over the potatoes until they are smooth – you don’t want any lumps in the potatoes.  Long story short, just buy a ricer.)Add a cup or so of flour to the bowl with the potatoes.With your hands, slowly incorporate the flour into the potatoes as if you are making a bread dough.Add additional flour and continue incorporating until the mixture easily forms into a ball and is not sticky.  While you don’t want to over-flour, if your dough is sticky the gnocchi will never turn out.Heavily flour a large cutting board.  Taking handful-sized pieces of dough at a time, roll the dough out on the cutting board into long ropes, approximately 3/4 of an inch around.  Continue until the entire dough is formed into long ropes.With a sharp knife, cut the ropes into 1/2 inch little squares, or pillows.  Continue until you have cut out all your gnocchi.  As you cut out the gnocchi, remove them to a plate.  Sprinkle flour generously on the plate and on the gnocchi to be sure they don’t stick together.Gently drop the gnocchi in salted, slow boiling water.  Stir the water gently once to be sure the gnocchi are not sticking together.  The gnocchi are done when they float to the top of the boiling water.  Using a slotted spoon, strain well and remove the gnocchi from the water.

Serve immediately with tomato sauce (gnocchi are traditionally served with a meat sauce – I had a small piece of filet mignon in the freezer so I cut it into small pieces, quickly seared it and added it to a simple tomato sauce, which is kind of random, but it tasted good) or pesto.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.This plus Friday Night Lights equals best day of the week.


5 Responses to “I Heart – Gnocchi Edition”

  1. Fabianne May 1, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    Scrumptious! I want to eat them raw!!

  2. Arianne May 3, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    Shoot, maybe I should give them a chance. I REALLY feel like I’m missing out :/

  3. Cindy May 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    YUM! I heard gnocchi is a very difficult dish and you must have the right kind of hands to do it. I shall attempt this soon. When you say Friday Night Lights, do you mean the NBC series because I totally love that show!!!

    • Diz May 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

      Yes! I’m obsessed with Friday Night Lights. Tim Riggins? Seriously?

      • Cindy May 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

        My fave is Saracen (who left so long ago). FNL needs to bring him back!

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