This is a simple way to turn out delicious potato gnocchi, without eggs needed! All it takes is potatoes, flour, and your hands.
For some reason, making gnocchi at home sounded like such an endlessly difficult task that I never dared. But last week I had a craving. We had a fair few potatoes that had been delivered in the last vegetable box and they were fast going off. We had to use them before their sprouts got too big ! But how?!
Of course, gnocchi. Gnocchi are a type of pasta that are made of potatoes and flour. They are thick, soft, small dumplings that can be boiled or fried to a delicious consistency. Stay tuned, I have another gnocchi recipe that will knock your socks off, that can be made with store bought or homemade gnocchi. This one is how to make the dumplings themselves, though.
Begin as always by collecting all of your ingredients. I gathered about 700g of potatoes, and 200g of flour, plus my handy salt. You will want to scrub your potatoes clean, but do not peel the skins. Keeping the skins on helps with flavour and texture of the potatoes. You also want to use potatoes that are fairly similar in size, because they will be boiled whole and you want to make sure they are all cooked to the same degree.
Put the scrubbed potatoes into a pot, and cover with cold water. Add plenty of salt to the water, and bring to a boil. Cook them uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until the potatoes are fully tender.
You will need to leave your potatoes to cool once you have drained them from the water. Handling hot potatoes is exactly how it sounds – a recipe for disaster ! Once they are cool enough to hold, peel off the skins. There are many ways to peel a potato. I prefer a paring knife, Aaron preferred our vegetable peeler, and there are plenty of links online about how to cut into them before they boil in order to ensure that the skins slip right off. However you choose to do it, peel the skins off entirely.
Now, put all of your potatoes into a big bowl and get ready to mash! I have a potato masher, though a potato ricer would certainly come in handy. Whatever your preferred method, these potatoes need to be fully mashed. As you get mashing, you will notice the importance of equally sized potatoes. I had some that were rather big, and that needed longer boiling, but by now it was too late. I did the best I could to make sure that the potatoes were squashed to bits.
Start with 150g of flour, and mix the mashed up potatoes and flour with a bit of salt. Do this while the potatoes are still warm. It may seem like it won’t come together, but keep scrunching and working it and eventually it will become a smooth dough. Add more flour as you see necessary. Keep kneading this mixture together until it is bendy.
I was doing all of this while on the phone, and realized when it was too late that I had some chunks in my dough. They made for good gnocchi still, but yours should appear smoother than mine if you take into account the size of your potatoes and have a good masher.
Roll all of your dough out onto a clean surface, keep kneading it if you notice it is still a bit lumpy, and make into a ball shape. Once it is all together nicely, cut this into 4 equal sized portions. Put the other three aside, and take one portion in front of you. It’s time to give the gnocchi some shape !
First, you want to roll the ball into a log. Start from the centre and work your way out, making the dough ball into a long, approximately one-inch (2.5cm) thick sausage log snake – whichever analogy you prefer. This will be repeated for the other three balls sitting aside.
Have a well-floured surface ready for the collection of the gnocchi. Cut the log into bite sized pieces, about 3cm long. These bits that you cut are your eventual gnocchi. In order to give them their signature shape, slide them down the tines of a fork and onto that floured surface. Getting the shaping right takes practice, and you can also leave them simply in balls. Mine were horrendous, but that’s okay – it is all part of the learning process! Keep going until you’ve finished with all of the dough.
If you are not going to cook them immediately, these will be okay to sit at room temperature for a couple of hours, or overnight in the fridge with a towel over them. If you’re ready to cook, then get a pot of salted water nice and boiled and ready to go.
Cook the gnocchi a few at a time, so that the surface of the water does not get too crowded. You will know they are cooked when they float at the surface of the water. Get them out with a slotted spoon, and reserve them on a plate for serving. They’re amazing and versatile, like pasta. Gnocchi can be enjoyed with a (fake)meat sauce, with red sauce, with pesto, only butter, parmesan, whatever your mouth feels like enjoying!
We made a red sauce using a tin of tomatoes, some leftover veggie burgers crushed up, fried courgette, and garlic with some fresh herbs and crushed black pepper thrown in.
Serve immediately while hot. Because gnocchi are so starchy, just a few go a very long way. 10 pieces each for Aaron and I was more than enough for us to both feel very happily full.
The ones that you aren’t ready to cook can be kept in the freezer. Try to not stack them or pack them too tight in the container, as I found they stuck together when defrosted, but they can keep for a mighty long time in the freezer – up to six months! We ended up using ours for leftover night last night, and they were just as tasty the second time around.
And voilà – you’ve made gnocchi!
- 700g potatoes, scrubbed clean but not peeled, equal sized (smaller is better)
- 150g flour
- Measure potatoes, scrub, and put into a large pot. Cover with water. Add salt. Bring to a boil for 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
- Leave the potatoes to cool until they are cool enough to be handled, and then peel skins.
- Mash or rice the peeled potatoes until smooth.
- Add 150g of flour, and work through until formed into a dough. It may seem impossible at first, but the more you work, the more you will notice it is turning dough-like. Continue until smooth dough, adding flour as necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
- Split into four equal sections. Repeat the following step with each section:
- Roll the section into a thin log, approximately 1 inch thick. Cut about 3cm (bite sized) pieces from the log and roll down the tines of a fork onto a floured surface to get the signature gnocchi shape.
- Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add gnocchi a few at a time and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until they float to the surface of the water.
- Serve immediately with your favourite sauce ! *Can store uncooked gnocchi in the freezer, put into a freezer safe container after rolling them out and shaping them.
I’ve always loved gnocchi and I am excited to know that they are so easy to cook. I can’t wait to try to incorporate these homemade gnocchi into my favourite gnocchi recipes.
Give it a try and tell me what you think !