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How To: Homemade Gnocchi (Step-by-Step)

Making Italy's Beloved Potato Pasta from Scratch

POSTED June 29, 2016

With a few simple ingredients and a little muscle, go homemade with your own classic dumplings. Whether you pair it with a tomato sauce or pesto, potato gnocchi is a deliciously hearty pasta to serve up for any occasion.

You’ll need the following to begin:

  • 2 1/2 lbs. of potato, approx. 4 lg. potatoes or 6 sm. potatoes*
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup or more for working dough
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • Optional: to make cheese potato gnocchi you can add 1/2 cup ricotta, and 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

…and of course, a dry work space.

All Ingredients*General rule of thumb: 1 medium-sized potato per serving or person. For every potato, you want to use approximately 1/2 cup of flour.

Step2Boil potatoes: In a large pot with just enough water to cover them, boil potatoes with their skins on. The skin helps the potato not too absorb access water. (Dry potatoes are good. Water potatoes are bad.) Boil for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. Over-boiling will cause potatoes to become mushy and too wet.

Drain well: Remove potatoes and drain well. Allow them to cool in a colander or over cheesecloth. 

Step3Peel potatoes: Peel boiled potatoes, removing any brown spots that might be below the skin.

Step4

Rice potatoes: Using a potato ricer, rice peeled potatoes. If they appear watery at this point, allow them to rest on a dishtowel to absorb excess water.

Step5The foundation: Mound riced potato on the middle of a wooden board or a clean, dry countertop. Top with flour.

Step6

Salt: Sprinkle with salt.

Step7

Make a well: Using your hands, scoop out the center of your mound.

Step8

Add egg: Break egg into the center of the well. Beat the egg with a fork.

*This is where you would add the cheese for the cheese version.

MixWFork

Incorporate ingredients: Using the fork, slowly start to pull in flour and potato to mix ingredients.

Step9

Begin to form: Use your hands to combine ingredients, beginning to form the dough. 

Step10

Knead dough: Pull together ingredients and knead to form dough. Be careful not to over-knead. Be weary of adding flour at this point. Too much flour will give you hard gnocchi.

Step11

Shape dough: Shape dough into a long, wide rectangle for cutting.

Step12

Cut dough: Cut dough into 8-10 pieces, about 4 inches long.

Step13

The secret to perfect gnocchi: Knead just enough for the dough to come together. Dough should have a loose airy texture, not gooey or dense.

Step14

Roll into ropes: Roll each piece by gently pushing with fingers spread. The goal is to make an evenly-distributed rope. For shorter, heavier gnocchi, roll dough into thick ropes and cut into 1-inch pieces. For thinner gnocchi, roll longer ropes.

Step15

Cut dough ropes: Using a pastry cutter or non-serrated knife, cut dough ropes into 1-inch pieces. Cut ends at an angle.

Step16

Keep floured: To prevent sticking, keep gnocchi in a cool area. Toss them with extra flour while they are waiting to be cooked or frozen.

Step17

Step18

Step19

Ridges or indents: You can use a fork to create ridges or indent gently with your thumb.This process isn’t necessary, but adds to the asthetic of your final dish.

Step20

To cook: Gently shake away any excess flour and place finished gnocchi in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook gnocchi until they float to the top, about 2-4 minutes. Gently remove them with a slotted spoon, drain very well. Toss them in a saucepan with your favorite sauce and cook together for about 2 minutes. Do not wait longer than 45 minutes to cook gnocchi or they will begin to stick to each other.  

This recipe makes 4-6 servings. Click here for our straight-up recipe for homemade gnocchi (no step-by-step photos).

Storage Options. If you want to make the gnocchi ahead of time you have 2 options:

Freeze:  Arrange gnocchi on a baking sheet with excess flour to keep from sticking. Place baking sheet in the freezer for about 2 hours, or until they are completely frozen. Once they are frozen, remove from pan and store until you are ready to cook. Do not thaw gnocchi. Cook frozen gnocchi in boiling water. Gnocchi can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Cook and refrigerate: Follow the cooking instrucitons above. Once cooked, gently remove gnocchi and place into a bowl of ice cold water (ice bath) to cool down. Drain well and toss lightly with a touch of olive oil to prevent sticking. Store in a covered container and refregierate for up to 2 days. When you are ready to serve, simply toss gnocchi with warmed sauce in saucepan.