Gnocchi is beloved throughout Italy where the airy pillows of pasta are seen as a way to stretch the budget because they are an inexpensive way to quell hunger pains using only four humble ingredients. Potato gnocchi is probably the most common version today but durum wheat, chestnut, or barley flours were the go-to starches up until the mid-nineteenth century.

One of the first mentions of gnocchi was in an Italian cookbook written in the 14th century and it is believed that it was introduced to the country from the Middle East where similar recipes have existed for centuries. In the 20th century, Italians migrating to South America took their cherished gnocchi recipes with them and today, gnocchi is as popular in many South American countries as it is in Italy.

One of the most important things to avoid doing for a perfect plate of gnocchi is over-kneading the dough. Too much flour will make it tough and the general rule of thumb is to use one potato per person. Gnocchi can be frozen and used at a later time by first tossing the gnocchi with a dusting of flour and then distributing it in a single layer on a baking sheet and freezing it for at least two hours. At this point, transfer it to a covered container and freeze. The gnocchi should not be thawed, but instead boiled frozen in a pot of salted water.

  1. The basic recipe for gnocchi includes five large Idaho potatoes, three cups of semolina flour, a half teaspoon of salt, and one egg.
  2. First bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil and add the potatoes. Boil them until fork tender, about 25 minutes. Transfer them to a colander and once they are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and pat the potatoes dry with a paper or side towel.
  3. Rice the potatoes.
  4. Sprinkle a clean work surface with all-purpose flour and distribute the riced potatoes over the flour until it is about one inch thick. Top with the semolina flour and sprinkle with salt. At this point, add any ricotta, Parmesan cheese, dried herbs, or additional ingredients that you are using in your recipe.
  5. Use your fingers to create a well in the center and break the egg into it. Using a fork, slowly incorporate the potatoes and flour into the egg.
  6. Bring the dough together with your hands and knead until it comes together into a shaggy ball.
  7. Knead it gently and be careful not to overwork it. Once it has come together into a smooth ball, shape it into a rectangle on your work surface.
  8. Using a bench scraper or a sharp knife, cut it into 1-inch thick slices.
  9. Roll each slice out into a 1-inch thick rope. Using the knife or bench scraper, cut each rope into 1-inch long segments at an angle. The gnocchi can rest at this stage for up to 45 minutes.
  10. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the gnocchi in batches so as not to overcrowd it. Once it rises to the surface in about two to four minutes, transfer it using a slotted spoon or spider to a plate or baking sheet. Once all of the gnocchi is ready, incorporate it into your preferred sauce and cook for an additional two minutes.

Crispy Gnocchi with Basil Pesto

Two Peas and Their Pod

Crisping gnocchi gives it an addictive, slightly crunchy texture in this recipe and the basil pesto adds both a bright flavor and pop of vibrant color. Get the recipe.

Gnocchi with Pomodoro Sauce

Foodie Crush

Tomato sauce is a traditional gnocchi pairing. This recipe is a rustic way to celebrate gnocchi’s many virtues through the use of earthy tomatoes and a variety of herbs. Get the recipe.

Gnocchi with Chicken, Kale, Green Garlic, and Lemon

Peach Dish

This is a lovely gnocchi recipe to celebrate the close of summer. Green garlic adds a zingy flavor and flash of color. Get the recipe.

Potato Gnocchi with Gorgonzola

Kenwood

Gorgonzola is a funky addition to potato gnocchi, enhancing both its flavor and its texture with a silky cloak of sauce. Get the recipe.

Sage and Apple Butter Pasta with Gnocchi

Platter Talk

Gnocchi is not necessarily a dessert ingredient but the sweetness of apple butter brings it as close as it can get and the addition of sage keeps it rustic. Get the recipe.

Cocoa Gnocchi with Mascarpone and Walnut Sauce

Manu’s Menu

This is an exciting, full-blown gnocchi dessert recipe that is as sophisticated as it is fun for the palate. Add a dash of cinnamon to the cocoa for even more unexpected flavor. Get the recipe.

— Head photo: Chowhound.

Jody Eddy is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. She has cooked at Jean Georges, The Fat Duck, and Tabla and is the former editor of Art Culinaire Magazine. Her most recent cookbook was "Cuba! Recipes and Stories From a Cuban Kitchen", published by Ten Speed Press. Her cookbook "North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland" was published by Ten Speed Press in 2014 and won the 2015 IACP Judge's Choice Award. She is the author of the James Beard nominated cookbook "Come In, We're Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World's Best Restaurants" and her upcoming book for Ten Speed, "The Hygge Life", will be published in November, 2017. She is writing a cookbook for W.W. Norton profiling the cuisine and food traditions of monasteries, temples, mosques and synagogues around the world which will be published in 2019 and a cookbook with the Food Network chef Maneet Chauhan profiling the cuisine of India via an epic train journey throughout the country. She writes for Travel+Leisure, Saveur, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, Plate, and VICE, among others. She is the author of JodyEddy.com, leads culinary trend tours for food and beverage corporations in Iceland, Peru, Mexico, Ireland and Cuba and is the Vice President of Marketing, Partnerships and Events at Hop Springs, an 85 acre agritourism destination opening in Nashville in May, 2018.
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