Thursday, September 28, 2006

Gnocchi – Little Puffs of Pleasure and Delight

Gnocchi are known by many names. They are Dumplings, Brotknödel, Quenelles, and some just know them as belly bombs. Belly bombs because they must be made fresh, whether they be made with flour, potato, or bread, if the gnocchi are not made just right they expand and fill you up leaving a bloated feeling.

In Italy gnocchi are part of the regional cuisine in many different areas. Sometimes the Gnocchi are the star of the plate while other they are a base for some delicate or savory sauce. Gnocchi have the unique quality of accentuating flavors and never dominating. Somehow they seem to adapt to the other ingredients in the plate. Thursday is Gnocchi Day and today it is with meatsauce

The trick to Gnocchi is good ingredients and balance. Choose the potatoes well. Make sure they are all of the same size and follow the method of preparation to the letter. In our home Raffaella makes the Gnocchi. This is her domain and her recipe.


1 lbs. 1 oz. (500 gr.) of small or medium potatoes
125 gr. Flour
2 Egg yolks
a pinch of salt

Extra flour to work the dough.

Note: A word about the potatoes. The potato is the most important ingredient for gnocchi. The potato should be a white potato. We prefer the Russet from Idaho of small dimensions. The potatoes must be of the same size.


Wash the potatoes. Do not peel them. Steam the potatoes over a slow boil with the skins on. It will take about 20 minutes to cook the potatoes, somewhat longer if the potatoes are bigger. The potato should be just cooked. Overcooking will cause the potato to absorb too much water and the Gnocchi will be like rocks.

While the potatoes are still hot, remove the skins and mash by hand with a potato masher. Raffaella uses a thermal glove to remove the skins. Add all of the ingredients together in a bowl and mix. A dough will form. Move the dough onto a floured surface and knead the dough until it is soft and pliable but not sticky.

It is extremely important that the dough remain warm. Roll into a large log. Cut a piece off of the log and roll the piece into a long log about ½ inch thick. This would be about the width of an index finger. With a pastry knife cut the log into ½ inch pieces. Place the cut pieces onto a floured baking pan and leave the gnocchi to rest for about 30 minutes before cooking.

Personal Note from Raffaella: making gnocchi is easy, but not at the beginning: practice makes perfect gnocchi!!! In fact the trick is to recognize when is the right moment to stop adding extra flour because the dough has the right consistency; usually that happens after 3 or 4 times.


Bring abundant salted water to a boil. Place the gnocchi in the boiling water. The gnocchi will float to the top when done. This will take about 3-4 minutes. With a wire cooking ladle or a strainer remove the floating gnocchi from the boiling water. Tap the ladle on the side of the pot several times to help drain the water from the gnocchi before placing them in the serving dish.

Add the desired sauce and serve hot!


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That looks so good. I love gnocchi!

6:20 AM

Blogger Alfonso Cevola said...

me too... I love a little gnocchi every once in a while!

8:42 AM

Blogger Jim Belshaw said...

Sounds wonderful. I think I can do this.

1:54 PM

Blogger RennyBA said...

I remember I was in Rome once and in a restaurant, they invited us into the kitchen to see how they made this Gnocchi. The chefs where artists in food making and the smell and the atmosphere made the visit so exotic. Thanks for the recipe, but I prefer to eat it made by a specialist.
Have a lovely end to your week:-)

3:18 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Jennifer When good, they are really good and they are extremely flexible.

IWG I get the idea that you mean Gnocchona!

Jim While Raffaella does the preparing it seems to be like making pasta. Once you get the hang of it, fast and sooooooo good!

Renny C'mon Renny. I have seen your dinners. You know how to cook and instead of having them on vacation you can have them for those special occasions at home with your wife. I bet she won't mind!

3:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks so good, I'm going to try and convert it to GF, with the addition of some pesto of course!


6:02 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Dianne I am not sure how a gluten-free would work. The gluten formed during the kneading process helps keep these little puffs together. If you find a way let me know, I would like to try them!

9:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thinking of adding another type of flour and xanthium gum! Living my life of gluten free though is always an experriemnt, and gnocchi without traditional wheat flour will be too ... I'll let you know how the experiement goes


3:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


this looks so good.

10:10 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Dianne Let me know how it works out. I am curious to understand more.

Ryan Welcome. I am glad you came by. I think you will enjoy these, perhaps with a nice bottle of red!

7:30 AM

Blogger a.c.t. said...

I just love gnocchi, especially with 'quattro formaggi'. I've had itin restarants but rarely make it at home as fontina cheese is quite hard to come by in the UK.

4:38 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

ACT That is counter-intuitive about the Fontina. It is widely available here in the US I would think that anything available here is already widely distributed in the rest of the world.

It may be that there is a local cheese with a similar taste that keeps the Fontina from penetrating the market.

5:13 AM

Blogger a.c.t. said...

Not necessarily Travel. You can get in some specialised delis but it's quite expensive. It certainly isn't found in supermarkets.

8:40 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

ACT Have you thought about having it shipped via Internet from Italy? I would often have European products shipped down to Rome since there were no customs. There are many cheeses that are similar and would work in a pinch but I hope you can find the real thing. I will shoot an email to the Consorzio and see if they know of a solution.

8:52 AM

Blogger a.c.t. said...

Thanks! In the meantime I'll have another look in the local deli.

6:42 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

ACT The cooperativa sent me a response. They suggested you send an email with your location to:

Let me know if they respond.

8:20 AM


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