Potato Gnocchi

Gnocchi di Patate (Potato Gnocchi) - credit @another_food_blogger

I love potato gnocchi and when I asked restaurateur Lucio Galletto if they’re popular in Liguria he replied “On special occasions, we say: ‘Come home Mamma’s making gnocchi.’” Gnocchi are so versatile, they’re delicious dressed with just about any pasta sauce including pesto, easy gnocchi Sorrentina from the Amalfi coast, or the simplest burnt butter and sage. You can even boil the gnocchi ahead of time, chill them in iced water then drain, toss with oil and set aside (or refrigerate overnight) and blanch in boiling water just before you’re ready to serve. Best of all they’re so easy to make, scroll to the bottom of the page for my top gnocchi making tips.

Serves 2 as a starter

  • Rock salt, for baking
  • 500g floury potatoes, washed
  • 75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • Pinch salt flakes, crushed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Sauce of your choice, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Spread rock salt onto a baking tray.
  3. Place potatoes on the salt and bake for 60–90 minutes, until a wooden skewer easily passes in and out of them.
  4. Sift flour onto a clean, dry work surface.
  5. Pass potatoes through a ricer onto the flour (or pass through a mouli or peel and press through a fine sieve). Reserve skins to make Crisp Potato Skins.
  6. Add salt flakes and egg yolk and use a pastry scraper to cut the flour into the potato, then use your hands to form a soft dough without mixing any more than is necessary.
  7. Divide into 3 portions.
  8. On a lightly flour-dusted bench, use your hands to gently roll each portion into a 2cm-thick sausage.
  9. Using the pastry scraper, cut 2cm-long pieces, roll them along a gnocchi board for the traditional gnocchi shape if you like.
  10. Toss lightly in flour on a tray.
  11. Bring a large saucepan of well salted water to the boil (10g salt per litre of water).
  12. Boil gnocchi for a minute or 2, until they float.
  13. Using a slotted spoon, scoop them out of the water into the sauce, reserving the cooking water.
  14. Gently toss gnocchi and sauce together, adding a tablespoon or so of the cooking water to give a creamy, coating consistency.
  15. Spoon into warmed flat bowls and serve.

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Gnocchi Making Tips

Wonderfully light gnocchi are very impressive and very easy to make if you remember three simple guidelines: minimum moisture, flour and handling. Follow these simple tips to get great results everytime:

  • Rather than boil the potatoes, bake them on a bed of rock salt to draw out as much moisture as possible; a wooden work surface is also handy for absorbing moisture.
  • Make the dough while the potatoes are as hot as possible, giving off excess moisture via steam. A ricer or mouli is best as you can pass the unpeeled potato through them, alternatively wait until they’re just cool enough to handle then peel and pass through a fine mesh sieve.
  • Use a pastry scraper or firm spatula to mix the dough so that you don’t over work it.
  • Add just enough flour to hold the dough together and use a minimal amount when rolling it.

Gnocchi can be cooked a day or even 2 ahead. Cool in a bowl of iced water, drain well, toss in a little olive oil, spread on a plate, cover and refrigerate. Reheat by adding to a large saucepan of boiling water for a few seconds.

Leftover gnocchi can be refrigerated for up to a week (depending on the sauce) and are great topped with cheese and baked.