My most popular recipe for interactive cooking lessons, people are pleasantly surprised to find just how easy light as a feather Potato Gnocchi are to make – no matter how limited your culinary knowledge. An Italian classic for a reason, they’ll always be a favourite at my table!
Solid. Filling. Comforting.
Every culture has their version of a dumpling, with very good reason… they’re just good food. The Polish version is known as kluski, and something my mom was very good at making! A great example of cucina povera/peasant cooking where ingenuity turns a few modest ingredients into a sum much larger than it’s parts, the ingredients are most usually ones that are on hand. Even as a child, I knew about cucina povera… just in a different language!
In this fabulous Italian recipe, cooked potatoes, flour, egg & salt are combined and coaxed into what I call little pillows of joy, and always lead me to ask, when handed an Italian menu that lists gnocchi…. “are the gnocchi made in-house?”
I can still see the portable, 3-sided wooden board that my mom used to make kluski on! In fact, it now hangs proudly in my kitchen, a beloved gift from my brother who had the decades old tool brought back to life by a carpenter. (At present it needs some TLC from me, so it was not used in making this recipe!)
When cooking the potatoes it’s best to either microwave or bake the russets, used for their high starch content. Boiling any potato of course adds much moisture, and that’s not what’s needed here.
If you don’t have a ricer… please go and get one! Essential to making the potato purée for gnocchi, as well as puréeing many other fruits & vegetables, it’s also the very best tool for making mashed potatoes. They’re inexpensive, and something my kitchen is never without.
Time. Patience. Have fun!
While many gnocchi recipes will tell you to boil the potatoes, I urge you to microwave them (or oven bake them). There will be less moisture which means less flour needed and therefore less mixing/kneading. All this translates into light, fluffy gnocchi.
Like most peasant food recipes, the essential ‘extra’ ingredient is putting the time in, to coax the ordinary ingredients into something extraordinary. It will take time to roll out the dough into ropes, and to cut and hand form the little dumplings, including making the indentations; these are essential to catching & holding sauce! Don’t fuss too much about having them all perfectly the same; as long as they’re close in size, nothing else matters. If you feel a little daunted in making them, get a helper. Pour some wine.
Above all else have fun on all your culinary adventures and remember…. what you’re feeling when cooking does come out in your food, so enjoy the process of making, and you’ll enjoy the eating even more~
p.s. For a very good gluten free version try this recipe!
Fluffy Potato Gnocchi
This recipe makes light as a feather gnocchi and is easily multiplied. Best of all, they can be frozen to cook another day!
- 1 lb russet potatoes
- 3/4 cup flour approx.
- 1 large egg beaten
- Large pinch salt
Microwave (or bake) the potatoes until tender, let cool just enough to handle them. While still warm, peel and put through a ricer - straight onto a large lightly floured surface.
Make a well in the center, and sprinkle all over with approximately half a cup of the flour. Drizzle the beaten egg over, and start mixing with a fork, to form the dough.
Bring the dough together adding more flour as needed, and kneading gently until a ball is formed, and the dough is no longer sticky.
Roll portions of dough into 3/4 inch ropes, and cut into 1 inch long pieces.
Flick pieces off a fork, to make the indentations that hold sauce. *Place on parchment lined baking sheet until all gnocchi are made.
Drop into lots of boiling salted water and cook until they float, about 2 minutes.
Serve with either your favourite tomato sauce, or browned butter, and top with grated Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh basil.
*they don’t have to be cooked right away, so freeze extra (or all of them!) Simply place the sheet pan of gnocchi in the freezer until they’re completely frozen, a couple of hours should do it. Pop them in freezer storage bags for future good noshing!
**overall cooking time will be longer if you oven bake the potatoes.