How to make gnocchi

Wed, 08/26/2009 - 10:10

Words by Michelle Fabio - Pictures by Paoletta S.

One of the best culinary skills I learned from my Italian-American grandmother was how to make gnocchi. Aside from being one of the most fun words to say in the Italian language (it's pronounced NYOH-kee), gnocchi is also one of the tastiest and most versatile forms of pasta.

You can find recipes online for gnocchi with various sauces: sage and butter, sausage and porcini, gorgonzola, fontina, and more; my favorite way to enjoy gnocchi, though, is how my grandmother taught me, which is with a basic tomato sauce, extra-heavy on the basil.

Yes, making gnocchi can be a bit time-consuming, but nothing worth having ever comes easy does it? And besides, the more often you make them, the easier and faster the process becomes.

Here's an easy-to-follow how-to video with's American Food Guide John Mitzewich showing you exactly how to make gnocchi:

Although John microwaves the potato, you can also prepare them on the stovetop; put potatoes still with their skins in a saucepan, cover them with water, bring to a boil, and then remove when soft (about 20 minutes). Then peel and put them through the strainer as John does.

I fondly remember kneeling on a heavily padded kitchen chair watching as my grandmother mixed the potatoes, flour, egg, salt, and pepper together by hand, rolled it into "snakes" as she called them, then sliced off chunks that would become gnocchi with the help of my fork. Indeed, I was the "forker," who simply rolled a fork over the cut pieces to give them grooves.

You can also indent them with a quick finger roll ala Andy Garcia in the Godfather III.

Do you make gnocchi? What is your favorite way to enjoy these adorable, delicious potato dumplings?