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Homemade Potato Gnocchi

An easy Italian Pasta Dish recipe, Homemade Potato Gnocchi, made with only 4 ingredients. Tossed in a simple tomato sauce. These soft, delicate Gnocchi will make a delicious Dinner idea.

Gnocchi in a tomato sauce in a black pan.


 

Living in Italy has made me realize that the simplest dish can be made in so many different ways, depending on the region or even how the family cooks it.

That of course also includes how to make Gnocchi. I have been told to use just flour and potatoes, or use  some milk instead. But the best way I found is flour, salt, potatoes and an egg.

My father-in-law would often tell this rhyme to his grandkids “Ridi, Ridi che la Mamma ha fatta i gnocchi” (laugh, laugh, because mommy made gnocchi). The origin is supposedly during times of poverty when children would be happy because their mother was able to make something delicious with potatoes and flour.

What are gnocchi?

They are small pieces of dough, usually round or oblong in shape that are boiled in water or broth and then tossed with different sauces.

The term gnocco (which is the singular form of gnocchi) mean knot (or nodo), it refers to something hard such as the knuckles (nocche) of a finger. It was probably invented around the 16th century when potatoes were imported to Italy from America.

Gnocchi with parmesan cheese in a sauce.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Potatoes – best to use Yukon Gold or Russet
  • Flour – all purpose
  • Salt
  • Egg – room temperature

How to make them

  • In a large pot boil un peeled potatoes until tender, remove from the pot and let cool enough to handle, then remove the skin.
  • Then pass through a Potato Ricer or mash.
  • On a flat surface mix together the flour and salt make a well in the middle and add the potatoes and egg, mix together with your fingers to form a soft dough, it should not stick to your fingers.
homemade gnocchi ingredients flour, potato riced and an egg on a wooden board
  • On a lightly floured surface, cut small amounts of dough to form ropes and cut into 3/4 inch (2 cm) pieces, then slide each piece on a fork and squeeze a little (but not too hard).
  • Sprinkle with a little bit of flour and toss, so they don’t stick together.
gnocchi dough, rolled and cut
  • Let the gnocchi rest for 20 minutes before cooking.
Homemade Gnocchi resting for 20 minutes on a wooden board
  • In a large pot of salted boiling water cook the gnocchi, gnocchi are ready when they float to the top.
  • Drain and toss with desired sauce.

So how did I come by this recipe?

I have a great little family owned supermarket just down the street from me where I can get fresh eggs and really good cold cuts, slabs of pancetta,  fresh nuts and other goodies and my just-purchased pressure cooker.

If you need it, they have it!

Over the years the woman who owns the store has also become a friend. She is originally from the South of Italy  and left her family to marry and move North.

With the store business and family to take care of she doesn’t see them as often as she wishes.

My  move from Canada to Italy was a little more extreme, but it was something we had in common and gave us something to break the ice.

So over the years I have acquired a good friend and some good recipes. This Gnocchi Recipe being one of them.

Different sauces for Gnocchi

There are several ways that you can serve Gnocchi, probably the most popular being a simple tomato sauce, you could also toss them with Pesto, butter and salvia or even a simple cream sauce.

How to make a firmer Gnocchi

  • Use a red skinned potato
  • Boil the potatoes with the peel on, that way the potato absorbs less water.
  • Peel the potato and place through a potato ricer immediately, because the cooler they get the stickier they become.
  • An easy way to peel the potato is stick a fork through and peel it using a knife.
  • Although you should wait for the riced potato to cool before adding to the flour (or denaturation may occur).

What are Pelati tomatoes?

Pelati tomatoes are skinned plum (san marzano) tomatoes that are canned in their own juice with no additives such as salt, garlic basil etc. You can also use canned chopped tomatoes or even passata as long as there is nothing added to the tomatoes.

What is the best Potato for making them?

The perfect potato is an old potato, in other words no new potatoes. New potatoes contain more water which absorbs too much flour. Go for Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes.

Gnocchi in a sauce.

What is the best flour to use?

I think it all depends on preference, I always use all purpose, in Italy it’s called Manitoba but some people prefer 00 or a lower protein flour. A lower protein flour will make them softer and more tender.

How long does it take to cook gnocchi?

Once they have been added to the salted boiling water give them a couple of stirs and watch carefully, it doesn’t take long for them to cook 1-2 minutes (sometimes less), once the float to the surface they are done. Remove them immediately. Over cooked and they will turn to mush.

Different ways to serve them

Gnocchi can be served on their own in your favourite sauce or you can also bake them in the oven as a typical Italian baked pasta dish. Two of our favourites are a Baked Creamy Cheese White Sauce Gnocchi and a Baked Gnocchi Double Cheese Tomato Sauce. Either or both are definitely worth trying.

How to Store them

Potato gnocchi can be left uncooked for no more than a couple of hours (covered). Cooking may be a little longer because they will have dried out a bit in the air.

Any leftover cooked gnocchi should be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. They will last up to three days in the fridge.

The Gnocchi can also be frozen, place the uncooked gnocchi on a cookie tray in the freezer, leave for approximately 20 minutes then place them in an airtight freezer bag. They will keep for about 1 month.

When you cook them there is no need to defrost, just add them to boiling salted water.

Delicious Gnocchi Recipes

So anytime you are craving a tasty home-made pasta dish, and you need it now and fast, Gnocchi are perfect. In an hour you could have a delicious pasta dish on the table and you can say “I did it myself”. Buon Appetito!

Gnocchi in a tomato sauce in a black pan.
Gnocchi in a red sauce in a black pan.

Homemade Potato Gnocchi

Rosemary Molloy
An easy Italian Pasta Dish recipe, Homemade Potato Gnocchi. A simple tomato sauce makes these soft, delicate Gnocchi a delicious Dinner idea.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 5 minutes
Resting Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Main Dish, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 290 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

FOR THE GNOCCHI

  • 1 pound potatoes (clean but not skinned / not new potatoes)
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium egg (room temperature)

SAUCE

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (40 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 cloves large of garlic chopped
  • 1 teaspoons oregano
  • 5 leaves basil chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 dashes of hot pepper flakes (if desired)
  • 1 can pelati tomatoes with sauce (1½ to 2 cups / 400 grams), nothing else added in the tomatoes
  • ½ cup water

Instructions
 

GNOCCHI

  • In a large pot boil potatoes until tender, remove from the pot and let cool  remove the skin. Then pass through a potato ricer.
  • Mix together the flour and salt, place on a flat surface, make a well in the middle and add the potatoes and egg, mix together with your fingers to form a soft dough, it should not stick to your fingers. On a lightly floured surface, cut small amounts of dough to form ropes and cut into ¾ inch (2 cm) pieces, then slide each piece on a fork and squeeze a little (but not too hard). Sprinkle with a little bit of flour and toss, so they don't stick together. Let the gnocchi rest for 20 minutes before cooking.

TOMATO SAUCE

  • While the gnocchi are resting make the sauce. In a large saucepan add olive oil, tomatoes, salt, garlic, oregano, basil, hot pepper flakes and water, stir to combine, half cover and let simmer over medium heat until thickened. Remove cover for the last few minutes to thicken. 

COOKING GNOCCHI

  • In a large pot of salted boiling water cook the gnocchi, gnocchi are ready when they float to the top.  Drain and add to the cooked sauce, add a little pasta water, cook for 30 seconds, gently tossing. Serve immediately topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

For room temperature remove from the fridge about 60 minutes before using.
The perfect potato is an old potato, in other words no new potatoes. New potatoes contain more water which absorbs too much flour. Go for Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes.
As far as flour goes, I always use all purpose, in Italy it’s called Manitoba but some people prefer 00 or a lower protein flour. A lower protein flour will make them softer and more tender, although you may need a little less flour to make the dough.
Potato gnocchi can be left uncooked for no more than a couple of hours (covered). Cooking may be a little longer because they will have dried out a bit in the air.
Any leftover cooked gnocchi should be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. They will last up to three days in the fridge.
The Gnocchi can also be frozen, place the uncooked gnocchi on a cookie tray in the freezer, leave for approximately 20 minutes then place them in an airtight freezer bag. They will keep for about 1 month. No need to thaw, just cook from frozen.

Nutrition

Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 610mg | Potassium: 516mg | Fiber: 3g | Vitamin A: 60IU | Vitamin C: 13.2mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 5.6mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a comment below or pin it to your Pinterest account!

Updated from December 16, 2014.

220 Comments

  1. Have used ked, boiled, leftover mashed and never had a bad gnocchi! Sometimes fry them up with olive oil and garlic, sometimes with butter and sage, always good and they freeze like a dream.

  2. 5 stars
    Very easy recipe! I doubled the recipe and used 1 egg + 2 egg yolks. Came together quickly – I was able to knead, cut, boil, and pan fry in one episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I baked my potatoes instead of boiling them and pushed them through a colander instead of a potato ricer (saw this hack in another comment and it worked like a charm). Served with bolognese. Definitely keeping this recipe to try with other sauces. Thank you for sharing!

    1. First time I’ve ever made pasta from scratch (I’ve done biscuits and pizza dough). Followed the recipe to a T. I know what pasta/dough feels like. Needed quite a bit more flour… maybe 1/4-3/8 cup?, just went by feel, until it came together and stopped sticking, but I also used a large egg, not medium. (who buys medium eggs?)

      So GOOD! And so easy. I just cooked up about 1/4. The rest I put on a floured sheet pan in the freezer, then dumped into a freezer bag. Looking forward to meals in the future.

      I didn’t bother with a pasta sauce. Just made a made a quick bacon/garlic/chili/scallion/Roma tomato/Romano/black pepper pan sauce as the gnocchi were resting/cooking. Topped with more scallions and sour cream. Sort of Hungarian.

      Great meal. Thanks!!! My gnocchi were pretty ugly, but I’ll work on that.

      1. Hi Justen, thanks so much, glad you liked it. Btw Italians buy a lot of medium eggs :). Be sure to cook them from frozen. Take care and have a great weekend!

  3. Fantastic recipe! So easy! …I made it with white sweet potatoes as that is what I had in the kitchen and used spelt flour and I had fresh basil growing so I chopped it up and added to the dough! Tomorrow I’m going to make a white wine butter lemon sauce for it as the sweetness was a little much for the tomato sauce! Thanks I’ll for sure use this recipe again!

  4. 5 stars
    Absolutely perfect! I don’t have a potato ricer, so I pressed potatoes through a colander. Perfection!

  5. 5 stars
    Love love love this recipe. My first time making gnocchi and I was so surprised at how delicate and light the texture was! This was sublime! I feel that I had a lot more “sauce” than it shows in your pictures. Did you hold back any of the sauce? Oh, and the sauce, is so simple yet complimentary. Definitely a keeper of a recipe. Now I have to figure out the best way to save so we don’t waste a bite!

    1. Hi Tava, I don’t think I had any sauce left over. You can freeze leftover sauce if you want, or just toss it with regular pasta or even use it as a topping for pizza. Take care and have a great weekend!

  6. I have some leftover potatoes.. they were boiled and tossed w/butter and parsley. Can I rice those and make gnocchi from them? Thanks!

  7. Made the gnocchi and it was delicious, but for some reason my dough was really wet and I had to use a huge amount of extra flour. Still turned out great though!

  8. Hi when I cooked them from frozen, they disintegrated in the water even though it was at a rolling boil..any ideas? They were delicious fresh…

  9. 5 stars
    Perfect balance between the ingredients. I steam my potatoes peeled and in even thickness rounds. I find it keeps the flavour almost as good as cooking whole. Just a more consistently cooked potato. My daughter had it for the first time and loved it. She went to a restaurant and ordered it and claims it wasn’t as good as this. A recipe keeper.

  10. 5 stars
    Hi! I made the gnocchi to add to my soup! I have made gnocchi before, but this time my taters we a little undercooke, and it still came together beautifully. I feel like gnocchi is so hard to mess up! Super easy and fluffy and gorgeous!

    1. Hi Suzanne, without potatoes you can use ricotta cheese, here is my recipe https://anitalianinmykitchen.com/ricotta-gnocchi/, it’s very good, I hope you enjoy it. Take care!

      1. Hi Rosemary thank you I m going to try your version also..
        Michelle Rao
        swtmagnolialady00@gmail.com

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