Learn how to make homemade gnocchi from scratch just as they do in Italy with this fresh potato gnocchi recipe from Italian Grandma Lulu.
Gnocchi is a fresh pasta recipe that is popular in many regions of Italy. In fact, while you probably think of a homemade potato gnocchi recipe like this one when you think of gnocchi, there are actually many types of pasta in Italy and around the world that bear the name gnocchi. Not all gnocchi include potato— for instance the famous Roman Style Gnocchi or the flour gnocchetti (little gnocchi without potatoes) popular in Umbria are made without potato.
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Potato Gnocchi is Easy to Make—If You Know the Secrets!
It is so easy to make Italian potato gnocchi! In fact, it is one of the easiest fresh pasta recipes to make at home because it doesn’t require any special equipment like a pasta roller. Keep reading to learn the secrets to making fresh potato gnocchi like an Italian, or watch the video recipe with Italian Grandma Lulu above.
How to Make this Potato Gnocchi Recipe
Choose Potatoes Rich in Starch
To make the best fresh gnocchi, you want potatoes that are relatively dry and rich in starch. Every region has its own potato that will work. For instance, here are some great choices:
- Yukon Gold
Yellow potatoes tend to be waxy and so most varieties are not ideal for making gnocchi.
Choose the Right Flour
The ideal flour for making Potato Gnocchi is an elastic flour made for pasta. Flours really do have different properties! Flour designed for pasta is made from a variety of wheat that excels in maintaining its shape and texture when stretched.
We often use a brand called Caputo —used often in pizzerias in Italy. The Caputo product that Grandma Lulu uses is specifically made for pasta and gnocchi (affiliate link). You can actually find this product on Amazon!
Boil Potatoes and Rice Them Hot!
Boil the potatoes whole (peels on) until they are tender. This will take about 45 minutes. It’s very important that you rice the potatoes as soon as you remove them from the water, while they are still hot.
Grandma Lulu uses a clever trick to rice the potatoes. Instead of peeling hot potatoes, you can simply cut them in half one at a time and place them cut side down in your ricer— then squeeze! Almost all of the peel will remain inside of the ricer and you haven’t burned your hands. Once all of the potatoes are riced, we need to thoroughly chill the potatoes.
A potato ricer is key to Nonna's fluffy gnocchi, so consider adding it to your kitchen arsenal if you don't have one already. This is a solid brand we've had great success with: https://amzn.to/3RfIWY3 (affiliate link)
Prepare the Potatoes in Advance
Because the riced potatoes need to be thoroughly cooled before we use them to make gnocchi, you can even prepare the potatoes and rice them the night before!
Don’t Overwork the Potato Gnocchi Dough
To make gnocchi at home, we start with cold riced potatoes. Then we add a pinch of salt and create a well in the center of the potatoes. In goes the egg, which is optional but helps our gnocchi stick together.
Then add the flour to the perimeter of the pile of potatoes.
Finally, it is time to knead! Grandma Lulu says you should knead quickly and not work the dough too long. Add just enough flour to create the consistency shown here.
If you knead the dough too much, Grandma says, the gnocchi will not have that soft mouth feel. She’ll use any flour remaining to stretch the gnocchi!
The gnocchi rope should be about three quarters of an inch or two centimeters in diameter.
Gnocchi Ridges are Optional
Here Nonna Lulu is using a special tool for making gnocchi ridges. Adding ridges to the gnocchi is optional, but is thought to help the little pillows of pasta better cling to whatever delicious sauce is accompanying them.
However you can accomplish the same thing with a fork!
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How to Make Homemade Gnocchi from Scratch (Fresh Potato Gnocchi Recipe)
- 1 potato ricer alternatives: box grater, fine mesh sieve, fork
- 1 pastry cutter alternative: large knife
- 1 fork
- 2.2 lbs Yukon potatoes Alternatives: white Idaho or Russet; The ideal potato is starchy—not waxy.
- 1 cup white flour preferably pasta flour, but all-purpose or ’00’ flour is acceptable
- 1 whole egg
- 2 pinches fine salt
Boil, Mash and Cool Potatoes
- Boil whole potatoes (skins on) for about 45 minutes—or until tender! Remove them from the water. Immediately rice the potatoes while they are still hot using a ricer.2.2 lbs Yukon potatoes
- To avoid burning your hands, simply cut the potatoes in half and place the halves (peels still on) into the ricer cut-side down and squeeze! The peel should mostly remain in the ricer. Discard any tiny pieces of peel that get riced.
- When all of the hot potatoes have been riced, cool them completely. You can even do this the night before you want to make the gnocchi.
Make the Gnocchi Dough
- Make a well in the center of the pile of cold potatoes. Add an egg to the center of the well and about half of the flour to the edges of the potato pile. Add a couple of pinches of salt.1 cup white flour, 1 whole egg, 2 pinches fine salt
- Use a fork to mix the egg into the potatoes. Then, use your hands to mix the flour into the potatoes and egg. Don’t over mix.
- Mix the dough just enough to incorporate the flour.
- Add the rest of the flour as needed to create a soft, pliable dough.
Shape the Gnocchi
- Stretch a piece of the dough at a time. Use the palms of your hands to stretch the dough into a rope about ¾ in (2 cm) in diameter.
- Cut the rope into segments about the same width.
Cook the Gnocchi
- Cook the gnocchi in boiling water until they rise to the surface—1-2 minutes! Remove them as soon as they rise to the top of the boiling water.
- Add sauce or condiments and serve!
- Box Grater: Using the side with the large holes, you can grate the cooked potatoes. This method is a bit more labor-intensive than using a ricer, but it can yield a similar texture.
- Fine Mesh Sieve: Push the cooked potatoes through a fine mesh sieve using a spatula or the back of a spoon. This can be a bit tedious but can give you a fine, airy texture similar to that achieved with a ricer.
- Fork Mashing: If you don’t have access to the above tools, you can use a fork to mash the potatoes. Be sure to do this gently and not over-mash, as you want to keep the potatoes as fluffy as possible.