Second only to pasta, gnocchi is one of our favourite crave-curbing carb here at Happy Foodie HQ and they're easy to make at home using just potatoes and a little flour. Gnocchi are delicious little Italian potato dumplings that are as good tossed through homemade pesto as they are pan-fried with seasonal purple sprouting broccoli or thrown into a traybake with roasted veg and ricotta. You can swap regular potatoes for sweet potatoes or pumpkin, add in an egg or do without, or mix in ricotta for extra richness. Here is a basic potato gnocchi step-by-step, as well as some of the best homemade gnocchi recipes to show you just how to make these versatile morsels and satisfy those carb cravings.
Basic gnocchi step-by-step key points:
1. You will need: 6 large Maris Piper or King Edward potatoes (about 2 kg total weight), 100-200g rock salt (enough to cover a roasting tin in a thick layer), 300-400g plain or ‘00’ flour (you’ll have to judge how much to use as you’re making the gnocchi), 1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten.
2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6.
3. Wash the potatoes well, pat dry with a cloth, then pierce all over with a fork. Scatter a thick layer of rock salt into a roasting tin, sit the potatoes on top and bake in the oven for 1½-2 hours, or until soft.
4. When the potatoes are ready, remove and allow to cool just enough to handle.
5. Gut the potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh. Sprinkle 300g of the flour on to a work surface. Pass the potato flesh through a potato ricer or sieve, then add to the flour. Season well and sprinkle with the nutmeg. Make a well in the centre, pour in the eggs and gradually work in the flour and potato to form a soft dough. Take care not to overwork the mixture.
6. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Take a teaspoon of the mixture and drop it into the boiling water to check that it holds together without breaking up. You may need to add a little more flour and test again.
7. When you’re happy that the consistency is correct, cut the gnocchi dough into 6-8 pieces and roll into long sausage shapes about 2 cm in diameter. Cut each sausage into 3 cm lengths and roll each piece against the back of a fork.
8. Reduce the pan of water to a brisk simmer. To cook the gnocchi, drop in batches into the pan and cook for 2-2½ minutes, or until they rise to the surface. Using a slotted spoon, lift out and place in a warmed serving dish. (Note: You can par cook the gnocchi in advance for use later: simply blanch in batches for 30 seconds, then remove and refresh in iced water. They can then be stored for up to 24 hours in the fridge on a lightly oiled plastic tray.)
This springtime gnocchi recipe from Jamie's 5-Ingredients cookbook pairs potato dumplings with asparagus, thyme and Parmesan. This is a straight-forward recipe that will show you how to rustle up rustic-style gnocchi in about 30 minutes.
Potato gnocchi with Fennel & Sun-Dried Tomato Butter from My Kitchen Table by Sophie Grigson
For a more traditional gnocchi recipe, follow Sophie Grigson's advice to get you making gnocchi like a true Italian nonna. Here she teams her gnocchi with the strong-flavoured trio of sun-dried tomatoes, olives and fennel.
Swap regular potatoes for sweet potato in this gnocchi recipe. Chrissy Teigen adds in ricotta cheese to make it "just forgiving enough" that you'll think nothing of making them any night of the week. Toast the gnocchi in brown butter and sage, shower them in cheese and devour.
"I can’t get enough of the little doughy morsels" says Elly Pear who fries her pumpkin versions in butter and oil. Elly shows how to make them in advance and store in the freezer. You can cook them from frozen for a quicker midweek meal.
Rick Stein makes a deeply spiced fish sauce with crab meat to pair with homemade gnocchi in this Venetian dish – ideal for a special dinner.
Not technically gnocchi, Elizabeth David's recipe uses spinach, ricotta and Parmesan instead of potato to create creamy, rich little bites. Served with plenty of melted butter and Parmesan, this is a decadent dinner.