Making pasta from scratch can be a little daunting. you need time, space, practice, and a way to keep the fresh pasta from sticking together… but making gnocchi on the other hand is the perfect way to get your feet wet in the art of making pasta. Gnocchi are essentially potato dumplings! The traditional recipe calls for just 3 ingredients: potato, flour, and an egg. You can also get creative and make colorful variations by adding pureed butternut (orange), spinach (bright green), or beet powder (red). They are plump, light with a silky smooth texture.
Fun Facts about gnocchi
– How do you pronounce it? “NYOW-kee”
– Potato gnocchi comes from Northern Italy around the 16th century when potatoes were introduced to Europe.
– in Italy, gnocchi are served either as an appetizer or a main entree.
– You can make a less starchy version by substituting potatoes with cauliflower.
Tips for making great gnocchi
– If you decide to mix things up and add butternut or pumpkin to the potatoes, you must make sure to have more potatoes than squash ( at least 2 to 1 ratio) otherwise the dough will be too soft and hard to handle.
– The best way to cook the potatoes is with their skin and either steam them or to pressure cook them in an Instapot. Waterlogged potatoes will result in gummy gnocchi! So keep them as dry as possible.
– Don’t overwork the dough or it will result in tough dumplings! Just combine the potato and flour with fingers until they come together and you get a ball.
– Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
– Cut your dough into 4 parts and coat it with flour. Make a rope about 3/4 inch in diameter making sure to have the same thickness and cut using a sharp knife little bits.
– Use a generous amount of flour to separate the gnocchi.
– When cooking the gnocchi, make sure to have the salted water to a rolling boil when dropping them a few at a time. If you notice the boiling going down, you put too many at a time and remove a few until the boiling returns. When they float to the surface, you can remove them with a slotted spoon.
– Use some of the cooking liquid to prevent the gnocchi from sticking together. A little olive oil will also work.
How to cook gnocchi:
– You can boil them and quickly pan-fry them with butter, tomato, or cream sauce.
– You can also pan-fry dry gnocchi with some oil in a hot pan.
– If you don’t mind the calories, you can deep-fry them to create a golden crispy version. They make a great appetizer!
To shape or not to shape them…
If you have time and enjoy playing with your food, you can use a fork and roll each piece of dough (away from you) to create a nice pattern. But no worry, making little pillow-shaped gnocchi are just as beautiful and delicious and if you use a creamy sauce, you won’t be able to notice the pattern anyway, so why bother!
What goes well with gnocchi:
– Roasted vegetables
– Steamed greens
Best sauces for gnocchi:
Tomato basil or bolognese sauce
Creamy mushroom sauce (use the cream of mushroom recipe)
Pesto (basil, kale, arugula, etc.)
Lemon & Sage butter
How to store gnocchi
– You can place them uncooked on a baking sheet and freeze them for a few hours. Then place in a Ziploc bag and will keep for up to 6 weeks.
– If you freeze them, you should thaw them flat first because frozen dumplings will cool down the boiling water and they can come apart!
Eggless Butternut Gnocchi with Garlic and Sage sauce
- Large bowl
- Potato masher
- clean towel
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Slotted spoon
- 2 unpeeled medium potatoes
- 1 cup steamed butternut squash
- 1.5-2 cups All-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp ground flax
- 2 tbsp warm water
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp vegan butter or olive oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp minced fresh sage, arugula or parsley
- 1 tsp sea salt
Prepare Gnocchi Dough
- Steam or pressure cook the potatoes and butternut squash.
- Drain and set aside to cool down.
- Prepare the flax egg by mixing the flax powder with the warm water.
- Peel and mash potatoes and squash and stir the flax egg.
- Coat a working surface with some flour. Pour the potato mixture. Make a well.
- Add the flour and gently incorporate the flour with your fingers until it forms a dough, don't over work it!
- Set the ball in a bowl and cover with a clean towel for 10 minutes.
- Coat your working surface with flour. Cut the ball into 4 equal pieces. Take one piece and roll it out to make an even snake 3/4 inch.
- Using a sharp knife, cut small pieces, dust them with flour and place them on the lined baking sheet.
- Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Bring a deep pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
- Place 4-5 dumplings at a time using a slotted spoon.
- When they float up to the surface they are ready. Using the slotted spoon, place them on a large plate and use a little of the water to prevent them from sticking together.
- When you have enough dumplings, prepare the sauce.
Prepare the garlic herb sauce
- In a saucepan, heat up the vegan butter or olive oil, salt add the minced garlic, sage, arugula or parsley and stir for a minute.
- Gently add the gnocchi and coat with the herb sauce. Simmer for a few minutes and serve immediately.