Thursday, January 20, 2011

Homemade Gnocchi

Gnocchi are wonderful "little pillows" of pasta served as a main dish with marinara sauce or as a side dish with a browned butter/sage sauce.  Since I was on the browned butter kick today, I made it as a side dish.  The rich, nutty flavor of browned butter, that enhanced the brownies, made these gnocchi melt-in-your-mouth delicious.  All that was needed was a sprinkling of fresh Parmesan cheese.
The word gnocchi may have derived its name from the Italian word "nocchio" meaning knot in wood or "nocca" meaning knuckle.   I actually think they more resemble a knuckle rather than a knot in wood.
Typically, gnocchi is made with semolina, wheat flour or potato, which was introduced to Europe in the 16th century.  I have always made my version with potato; must be the Irish in me!  These are true Italian comfort food and so satisfying.  If you've shied away from making gnocchi because you thought it was too hard, I know you won't anymore when you see how easy they really are.

Homemade Gnocchi
3 large baking potatoes
1 large egg
2 T heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven 425F-degrees.  Wash and scrub the baking potatoes.  Use a fork to pierce the skin in several places. I use a baking stone, but you can also wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil.  On the baking stone, it took 1 hour 15 minutes.  Pierce the skin with a tip of a paring knife to check for doneness.   Remove from oven and let rest.
Use a paring knife to remove the skin.  Cut potato in half and place it in a ricer (alternatively you can use a masher).  Rice all the potatoes into a large bowl.
Add the egg, heavy cream, salt and nutmeg.  Stir to combine.  Add the flour--it's easier to use your hands to knead the dough, adding a tablespoon of flour at a time, if needed to get to a smooth ball.
I divided the dough into quarters, then eighths for ease of rolling it into a rope.
Use a dough blade or knife to cut the rope into approximately 1-inch pieces.  To achieve the "ridged" look of gnocchi, you can use a fork to roll the 1-inch piece off or if you're lucky enough to find a gnocchi maker, roll your dough off that.

Either technique provides the necessary ridges to hold on to the sauce!  Place the gnocchi on a lightly floured (with all-purpose flour or semolina) pan until you've completely finished making all of them.
Meanwhile, bring a 6 quart sauce pan with two-thirds full of water to a boil, adding 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt to the water.  Drop about 15 gnocchi into the boiling water at a time.
As the gnocchi cooks it will rise to the surface when they're done.  Use a slotted spoon to remove them.
The gnocchi can go into your favorite marinara sauce or into the Browned Butter/Sage sauce at this point.

Browned Butter/Sage Sauce:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 tsp. dried sage

In a sauce pan, heat the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  When the butter stops foaming and browned bits appear, add the dried sage.  Stir to combine.
Add the freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top and put into a 350F-degree oven for 15 minutes to toast the cheese.  
Homemade gnocchi will surely impress your family and friends, not to mention it's a wonderful addition to any meal as a main entree or side dish.  Enjoy!


  1. I've never made gnocchi but I hope to try your recipe following step by step----as usual you make everything look so easy!!! Yours look delicious. I may need a private lesson though. Love you, Sis. Barb

  2. I've never made homemade gnocchi before, but I think my kids would love them!! thank you for posting so many delicious recipes! My family and friends thank you too because they like tasting everything...

  3. I have always wanted to try to make these. Do they freeze well too?

  4. Allison~Flash freeze them on a baking tray before boiling, then just bag them up. They freeze perfectly and you don't have to defrost them before boiling.
    And, and your Mom are welcomed anytime!xoxo

  5. Susan, the gnocchi look so tempting and yummy! Thanks for the recipe and all your hints with making would be great to have some of these in the freezer. You never know maybe some day Kristi and I will arrive at your door....I think right now that isn't a possibility. xoxo

  6. Homemade pasta is amazing!
    This sounds and looks wonderful Susan!
    Enjoy your Sunday ~ Sending love xoxo

  7. I did it!!!! I made the gnocchi with the browned butter/sage sauce tonight! Your recipe and directions (and the photographs) made it very easy. I did freeze half of the gnocchi for another meal. I was so proud of myself! Thanks for the great recipe. Love you, Barb

  8. These look beautiful and delicious. My Hungarian grandmother made these too but she sauteed them coated with matzo meal-not too sure of recipe,but it was similar to these. There is a Hungarian name for these which I will have to look for-don't remember. Thanks for the recipe. See you soon.

  9. Louise~the Hungarian ones are called Nokedle, which I've never made, but they are similar to the German version of Spaetzle, which I have made. In fact, I just saw a recipe for a take on macaroni and cheese substituting spaetzle for the macaroni. It's on my list to try! Can't wait to see you and Jeannie. xoxo