Today’s recipe is all about potato gnocchi, and my-oh-my what a simple dish it is to make even though it may seem or appear to be intimidatingly fancy or complex!
This recipe is made to be simple with the added benefit of being wholesomely clean eating (it uses 100% whole wheat flour!) as well as vegan-friendly.
What is gnocchi?
Put simply, gnocchi are these wonderfully soft pillows of ridged potato dumplings that are the perfect vessel for your sauces, cheeses, meats or to be used in soups. Defined as a pasta, this is perhaps one of the easiest pastas to fresh make, shape and form especially considering that it doesn’t require any fancy equipment like pasta presses or extruders.
Fun Fact: gnocchi is the plural form of gnocco!
How do you pronounce ‘gnocchi’?
The word starts with a silent ‘g’ and is pronounced as “nyo-kee”.
Are the different variations of gnocchi?
Yes! There are several variations of gnocchi. The kind we’ll be making today is a simple potato gnocchi that features potatoes, flour and salt.
Other styles include:
- Gnocchi Parisienne – the French version of gnocchi is made by piping blobs of choux pastry into hot water.
- Roman-style gnocchi – made by cooking a semolina dough which is then chilled, rolled out and cut into discs before being baked.
- Gnochetti Sardi – also known as Malloreddus, it is a gnocchi made using a dough of water and semolina that is shaped and boiled.
- Sweet potato gnocchi – made using sweet potatoes as the base. It is similar to the potato gnocchi.
- Ricotta gnocchi – made using ricotta cheese, eggs and flour to form a dough that is then shaped and boiled.
- Additional ingredients – some recipes use other ingredients in the gnocchi dough such as eggs, cheese, herbs and spices as well as varying flour types from whole wheat to semolina.
Let Me Show You How to Make This Easy 3-Ingredient Gnocchi…
To begin today’s recipe we’ll need to gather our three ingredients:
- Potatoes – I highly recommend using a starchy type such as a Russet since it’s cooked texture is dry, and mealy. A waxy type like reds will affect the texture of your dough.
- Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – 100% whole wheat, this type of flour is made from soft white spring wheat and is finely ground for a wonderful texture and mild flavor.
- Salt – I’m using a pink Himalayan salt but you can use a sea salt if you prefer.
Many people like using a beaten egg in their dough to act as a binder. While gnocchi dough is a bit delicate when being cooked (ie: it’s easy to overcook it and have it go mushy) I’ve found that it’s not necessary. However if you’re concerned about the delicacy of the dough, feel free to add in 1/2 of a large beaten egg to your recipe to help bind your dough together.
Start by washing, scrubbing and pricking your potatoes with a knife and fork before submerging them in a pot of cold water. Set your potatoes to boil until they are fork or knife tender all the way through.
Once cooked, remove them from the boiling water and let them cool for 5 minutes before peeling the skins off (be careful as your potatoes will still be hot!).
Once your potatoes are peeled, we’ll mash/rice them using either a potato ricer (preferred) or by using a fork or potato masher. Try to get an even and fine mash on your potatoes.
With our potatoes still warm and mashed, we’ll ready our other ingredients and begin to make the dough.
Incorporate a couple pinches of salt and half of the flour into your mashed potatoes. Once no more flour remains, add the remainder of the flour and mix it in. The dough will seem rough and shaggy.
Lightly flour a clean work surface and turn your dough out and slowly knead and work it together using your hands for 1-2 minutes until your dough forms and comes together and has the consistency of playdoh. Your potatoes will still be warm, this is good as that will help the whole wheat flour to soften and incorporate faster/better.
Once your dough has come together, divide it into 4-6 pieces to make it easier to work with.
How to Shape and Form the Gnocchi:
Take one portion of your dough and roll it into a long thin rope that is about 1-inch thick. Then, using a clean knife or cutter, cut the strand into 1 – 1.5-inch long pieces of dough.
I highly recommend keeping the unused dough covered with a clean, damp kitchen towel to ensure it doesn’t dry out.
Using the back of a fork, gently press and roll each segmented piece of dough down it to create ridges as shown above. This might take a few practice tries. Depending on how long the tines of the fork are you may achieve the ridges all the way around or you may end up with the ridges on one side and a small indent from your finger on the back, either way is fine! Another option is to not create any ridges at all and simply cook your pillow-shaped cuts of dough.
Did you know: The ridges’ purpose is to allow the gnocchi to be flooded by and hold onto whatever sauce your pair your gnocchi with.
As you shape each gnocco, place it onto a clean, prepared tray or plate that’s been lightly dusted with flour. You can cook your them right away or you can cover and let your them rest at room temp or by placing it into the fridge to chill for up to a full day before cooking.
How Do You Cook Gnocchi?
To cook your gnocchi, bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add enough gnocchi in to form a single layer. Note that your gnocchi will sink to the bottom as soon as you add them in but will soon float to the surface. Once they float, allow them to boil for an additional 15-20 seconds before removing them with a slotted spoon or spider.
Be cautious of the length of time your gnocchi are boiling for once they float to the surface, it is very easy to over cook them and once that happens they become mushy or can even begin to dissolve in the pot.
How to Serve Your Gnocchi?
To serve simply toss your cooked gnocchi in your preferred sauce of choice. The most common sauces include:
- Pesto (pictured above)
- Browned Butter with herbs (such as thyme, rosemary and sage)
Another option is to add your boiled gnocchi directly into a hot skillet that has either a coating of extra light olive oil or butter in it, and pan fry them until they are browned on all sides. This adds a phenomenal texture to your gnocchi and allows it to hold up better to sauces.
You can even take it one step further by making a gnocchi bake by either layering or mixing your pan-fried gnocchi with a Bolognese sauce before topping with cheese and broiling until the cheese is melted and gooey!
What dishes do you like to use your gnocchi in? What is your favorite sauce to use on your gnocchi? Let us know in the comments below!
3-Ingredient Potato Gnocchi
- 1½ lb Russet Potatoes
- 1¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour plus more for dusting
- 1 tsp salt to taste
- Wash and scrub the potatoes and prick them a few times with a knife or fork.
- Submerge the whole, unpeeled potatoes in a pot of cold water and set on high heat. Boil until potatoes are fork tender (20-30 min).
- Once boiled, remove from the water and let cool for 5 minutes. Peel the skins off and mash with either a fork or potato ricer (preferred) into a medium-sized bowl.
- Add salt (to taste) and half of the flour. Mix until no more flour remains before adding the other half.
- Turn your dough out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth.
- Divide the dough into 4-6 pieces and roll each piece into a long thin, inch-thick strand.
- Using a knife, cut the strand into 1 - 1½-inch long pieces.
- Using the back side of a fork, roll each piece down the length of the tines to create a ridged surface with a small indent on the back side from your finger.
- Place each rolled gnocco onto a baking tray that's been lightly dusted with flour.
- Cook right away or cover the tray with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for as long as 24hrs.
- To cook, bring a pot of salted water to boil and add enough gnocchi to form an even layer. Note that they will immediately sink to the bottom of the pot before rising to the surface.
- Once they've risen to the surface, allow them to cook for 15-20 seconds before removing them using a slotted spoon to an awaiting dish or plate. Note: Don't let them cook for too long once they float to the surface because they will become mushy.
- Serve by tossing them in your favorite sauces or by pan-frying them in butter for a wonderfully crispy texture.
- Once cooked, serve immediately. To store them, place your freshly shaped gnocchi in a single layer on your sheet pan and freeze until solid before placing into airtight sealed bags and storing in the freezer for up to 4 mths.