How to make gnocchi

How to make gnocchi

How to make gnocchi

Gnocchi are an Italian dumpling most commonly made out of potato, flour and egg yolk and often flavoured with parmesan. Treated like fresh pasta, these pillowy dumplings are gently boiled for a minute or so then folded through a sauce or crisped up in butter with crispy sage.

Gently boil for a minute or until they float, then fold through a sauce or crisp up in a sage butter sauce.

Ingredients

1
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
2
Place the potatoes on a baking tray and bake for 30–40 minutes (depending on their size) until completely cooked through
3
While they are still hot, cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh, pushing through a drum sieve or potato ricer into a large bowl
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4
Fold in the egg, followed by the flour and salt so that the mixture comes together as a dough
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5
Turn out on to a clean work surface and fold over a couple of times to ensure all the flour is fully incorporated
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6
Cover the dough with a tea towel or cloth to stop it from drying out while you work with it in portions
7
Take a quarter of the dough and roll into a 2cm thick sausage shape, then cut into 3cm pieces of gnocchi
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8
Roll each piece on a gnocchi board, or along the back of a fork, to create the traditional indentations, then transfer to a lightly floured tray. Repeat with the rest of the dough
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9
Bring a wide, shallow pan of salted water to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and whisk the water to create a whirlpool effect
10
Gently roll the gnocchi into the water and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until the gnocchi float to the surface
11
Drain the gnocchi from the pan – these can be served now with a sauce, baked or pan-fried. They can also be stored for later, simply refresh the cooked gnocchi in iced water for 2 minutes, then drain well and mix with a little olive oil and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days

Variations

Potato gnocchi are perhaps the most well known variety in the UK, but variations of the dumpling can be seen from region to region in Italy. Tuscans use chestnut flour to create earthy brown chestnut gnocchi, and have a ricotta based version named Gnudi which is delicious boiled then tossed in nutty brown butter. Malfatti is another ricotta based gnocchi but contains spinach too.

In Piedmont they use buckwheat flour and traditionally serve in a cheese sauce in a dish called gnocchi alla bava. Gnocchi alla Romana from Rome uses a semolina based dough which is baked with plenty of Parmesan. In southern Italy, fine semolina is used in place of flour when making pasta dough, and their version of gnocchi is the same. Gnocchetti sardi or Malloreddus hails from Sardinia and is often flavoured with saffron to give them a golden colour and fragrant flavour.

Like pasta, gnocchi can be flavoured with spinach, herbs or even nettles. Other vegetables such as butternut squash, pumpkin or beetroot can also be used as demonstrated by Victoria Glass in her recipe for a gluten-free golden beetroot gnocchi.

Even the French have their own version. Gnocchi Parisienne uses choux pastry as the dough then cooks as you would potato gnocchi in boiling water and then browned in butter.

Serving suggestions

Emanuele Scarello served Gnocchi with garlic sauce and black truffle for a decadent starter, while Teresa Buongiorno stuffs gnocchi with a pesto for her Pink gnocchi with a green core and ricotta cream. Fish and gnocchi complement each other wonderfully as they both have a subtle flavour, Paul Welburn serves Sea bass with seaweed dumplings, clementine and lemon foam, while Dominic Chapman serves up halibut with gnocchi and wild mushrooms for an indulgent main course.