Gnocchi is a fresh pasta that's made with potatoes and cut into small, dumpling-size shapes rather than long noodles. The potato and flour base make it a very dense pasta dish, and some people like to swap out regular potatoes for sweet potato or even a type of squash to lighten up their gnocchi. But how does one make this special pasta from scratch? We've got you covered with this quality recipe!

What You Need To Make Gnocchi

egg and flour the key ingredients to pasta dough

To make gnocchi, you're going to need:

  • 4 medium-sized potatoes
  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup of ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

How To Make Gnocchi

gnocchi being rolled with eggs and flour
  • Wash your potatoes and then completely peel the skin off of them. Cut them into cubes -- this will allow your potatoes to cook faster.
  • Fill a pot with cold water and bring it boil, then place your potato cubes in the boiling water. Let them sit for five to seven minutes, or until soft all the way through, and then remove the pot from the stove and strain the potatoes.
  • In a food processor or blender, insert your flour, eggs, potatoes and ricotta into the machine, then drizzle your two tablespoons of olive oil around the whole mix.
  • Blend the mix for around thirty seconds and then pulse for another 10-15 seconds until the dough is ready. You'll know the dough is good to work with when it looks a little bigger than cornmeal and the texture sticks together well without being overly sticky.
  • If the dough is too dry and it's not sticking together, add some water and olive oil, and then pulse to moisten it up a little bit. If the dough is too wet and sticks to the sides of the food processor/blender, add some flour and pulse until the dough reaches the right consistency.

How To Roll Gnocchi

rolling fresh gnocchi by hand
  • Clear a large spot on your kitchen counter and dust the entire space with flour.
  • Remove the dough from the food processor/blender and knead it into a ball, dusting occasionally.
  • Cut off a chunk from the big ball of dough and set aside the rest of the ball. Dust your counter with flour again and you're ready to begin rolling gnocchi!
  • You can use a rolling pin or just your hands, but either way, there are two important things to note when rolling gnocchi: you want to keep it round and you want to keep it even.
  • When rolling, be sure to roll the dough so that it's constantly turning back and forth to maintain a tubular form and that you're not rolling it out like a pizza dough. It's also important to constantly move your hands along the dough while rolling it, to help stretch it from a chunk into a long, evenly sized tube. If you feel like the dough isn't rolling or stretching the way you want it to, feel free to dust it with flour -- flour is your friend when rolling out gnocchi.
hand rolling gnocchi the right way
  • When you get the pasta into the long, tube form, take a sharp knife and cut the tube into pieces about one to two inches thick.
  • Take a baking sheet and put down a piece of parchment paper, then dust the parchment paper with flour. Gently place your gnocchi on the baking sheet, evenly spread out. They can be touching side to side, but do not place gnocchi pieces on top of each other. Repeat this process until you've portioned all of your pasta dough, and then place the baking sheet in the freezer.
  • When ready to cook, bring a pot of boiling water to a boil and add the gnocchi straight from the freezer into the boiling water, then give it a quick stir. You'll know the gnocchi is ready to eat when it all rises to the top of the boiling water!

What Goes With Gnocchi?

homemade italian gnocchi with red sauce and parmesan

Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Sauces

There are many sauces that go well with gnocchi, but a bolognese or any fresh tomato sauce will help compliment the potato and ricotta texture. If you opt for a sweet potato or squash choice instead of regular potatoes, a white sauce can compliment the lighter tastes of these vegetables rather nicely.

Meats

A braised beef will make a gnocchi dish as hearty as can be, although if you want a lighter cut of protein, a classic baked chicken breast cut up will do the trick. Braised beef pairs well with tomato-based sauces, while a baked chicken breast will go nicely with an alfredo sauce. Both of these meats pair nicely with various veggies, so be sure to get those into the mix as well!

Be sure to top any of these gnocchi options with parmesan!

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