Gnocchi (pronounced NYO-kee) are fluffy, Italian-style dumplings made of potatoes and flour. You can serve gnocchi with any of your favorite pasta sauces, or even with a simple sauce of melted butter and grated Parmesan cheese.
The key to making good gnocchi is to use dry, mealy potatoes like Russets. And we want to keep the potatoes as dry as possible, which is why it's better to steam them rather than boiling them. (See note below)
Also, here's a list of Sauces for Gnocchi.
- 2 pounds whole Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered (see note below)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra flour for dusting)
- Kosher salt for the cooking water.
- Steam the potatoes in a large soup pot with a steamer insert, or steam basket, for 30 to 40 minutes or until they can be pierced with a knife.
- Pass the cooked potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer. We do it this way rather than mashing them by hand because it's really important to achieve a smooth, uniform texture. And whatever you do, don't put the potatoes in a food processor as this will make them too gummy.
- Turn out the cooked potato mixture onto a lightly floured surface, and add about half of the flour. Knead until you have a sticky mass and keep adding flour a little at a time until the dough is smooth. You won't necessarily use the whole amount of flour.
- Cut the dough into smaller sections, and roll each piece into a long cylinder about ½ of an inch in diameter. Then cut each cylinder into individual pieces about ¾ of an inch in length.
- Fill a large pot with water and generously salt the water with a good handful of Kosher salt. The water should taste like seawater. Bring the water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, shape the gnocchi by pressing each piece between your thumb and the tines of a fork, using a slight rolling motion. One side of the gnocchi should have the imprint of the fork and the other side a small indentation from your thumb.
- When the water comes to a boil, drop the gnocchi into the water. In about two minutes, the gnocchi will float to the surface of the water. Let them cook about fifteen seconds more and then skim them out with a slotted spoon.
- Drain the gnocchi well and serve immediately topped with a basic tomato sauce and grated Parmesan cheese, or with any of your favorite pasta sauces. Here's a list of Sauces for Gnocchi.
Note: You can boil the potatoes for gnocchi, like if for some reason you don't have a steamer basket or colander. But if you do, boil them whole, and leave the peels on so that they don't absorb a lot of water. Too much water will make the gnocchi gummy rather than fluffy.
Once the potatoes are cooked, let them cool just long enough so that you can handle them, and then peel and proceed with Step 2 above.