There are so many variations of gnocchi, but this classic potato gnocchi recipe is my favourite. A simple tomato sauce or even spiced up a bit, makes these gnocchi irresistible. You may think these are tedious to make or take a long time, but in fact it is easy to do and you get a large quantity with just some simple ingredients!
The indents in the gnocchi are important as they “attract’ the sauce onto them. You can make the indents using the handy tool shown in the photos, the tines on the back of a fork or by hand with your fingers rolling the gnocchi first backward then forward.
This recipe comes from Nonna Anna. She is a marvel in the kitchen and loves to share her recipes and know how. Along with her husband Bruno they are an inspiration! Gardening, preserving, cooking, baking, curing meat (lots of beautiful meats!), making wine – you name it they do it and always with passion and a smile, and they somehow find time to cook for local Italian community fundraisers too!
Three of their grandchildren joined us for a fresh gnocchi lunch – we were told this is a daily event for them:) Classic nonni, making sure the kids are fed!
Anna pointed out that Ontario white potatoes are the best but that she knows people that use all kinds so feel free to use your potato of choice. Her recommendation – Ontario new crop white. Mix the ingredients while the potatoes are still hot/warm or it will be more difficult to knead and the gnocchi will be too chewy. Also, you don’t want to over knead or you develop the gluten and once again have gnocchi that are too chewy. You basically just want to incorporate the flour and make sure there are no lumps. A potato ricer is an ideal tool to prepare your cooked potatoes for making gnocchi. Don’t keep your finished gnocchi lying around too long. Place them in the freezer unless you are cooking them right away. You can make plenty ahead as they store well frozen.
This is a great recipe to get kids involved too. They love rolling the dough, cutting little strips and making the indents. When me and my brother were young, we would help our nonna make large batches of these and we would turn it into a game of seeing who could flick the gnocchi the farthest while making the indents. Nonna would not be impressed!
Angela says her mom used to entice them to help by making a couple long gnocchi and seeing who’s plate they ended up in. Starting young is a sure way to promote cooking and good health!
Anna served these gnocchi with a delicious tomato sauce spiced up with hot sausages. She says her sauce is never the same two days in a row. Use your favorite tomato sauce, even a white sauce will work, and enjoy!
- 700gm boiled regular white potatoes with skin on (the 700gm is skin off/boiled weight)
- 3.5 to 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- Boil enough potatoes with their skin on in salted water to yield 700gm of boiled/skin off potato weight. Use a potato ricer to mash well.
- Add the flour, egg, salt, and parmesan cheese, if using, and mix well. Work the dough gently for a couple of minutes to bring it together into a uniform dough.
- Form into a ball, flatten and shape into a circle then roll the dough to about 1/2" thickness.
- Keep flouring your work surface lightly as needed. Keep the dough covered with a dampened tea towel while you work.
- Cut the dough into 1" thick strips at a time and roll into 1/2" diameter log. Cut the log into 3/4" - 1" long pieces. Make indents in each gnocchi by pressing down in the middle of each piece with two fingers and giving a gently roll or using a gnocchi tool or the teeth of a fork. Keep the gnocchi in single layers (clean pieces of food-safe cardboard work well for this) and place them in the freezer immediately (unless you are cooking them right away). If you are keeping them for use later on, once they are frozen, you can gather and put them into an airtight container.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the frozen gnocchi. Cook for 9 1/2 to 10 minutes. Drain and add tomato sauce and more parmesan cheese if you like. Toss well but gently and serve immediately.
- It is important to mix the ingredients and form the dough while the potatoes are still warm but cool enough to handle
- Allow about 1&1/2 cups frozen gnocchi per person.