Making Gnocchi was pretty intimidating, almost more than pasta. Part of the problem with it is that you effectively need to start by making mashed potatoes. Once you get through all of that its actually pretty straight forward just a bit labor intensive. Now that we have done it once, it will go a lot smoother and I may even consider some tools to make the process easier.
I used my Instant Pot to cook the potatoes since it was pretty straight forward to steam them that way. Steaming has become my default potato cooking method if they aren’t roasted/baked. I find that boiling them makes them too soggy. So about 20 minutes total in the instant pot and I got perfect potatoes. I also used Yukon Golds because I think they have the best natural flavor.
You can also add a lot of different things to your gnocchi. A common ingredient is Ricotta cheese and I have seen things like spinach or pumpkin before as well. I kept this batch pretty basic since I planned to pair it with a hearty meat sauce.
Gnocchi Making Process Instructions
As I said earlier you start by effectively making mashed potatoes. I used 6 decent sized Yukon Golds which yielded about 40-50 gnocchi. You need to peel them and cut them into chunks to start. Then cook the potatoes in whatever your preferred method is until fork tender. Mash them via a ricer, mill, or by hand.
You then combine the potatoes with 1 Cup of flour and 1 Tsp of salt. All-purpose flour is fine but Semolina (pasta flour) is better if you can find it. You can also use a flour alternative to keep the gnocchi gluten free. Place half of the flour on a cutting board, place the potatoes on top of that, and then place the other half on top. Gently fold the flour into the potato on the board and form a well in the middle.
Drop an egg in the well (use a fork to mix it up). Use the fork to stir in some of the potato/flour mixture and then start to knead by hand. Be careful no to overwork the mixture, it should stay light and airy. Also make sure to keep your board dusted with flour to make sure the potato doesn’t stick.
Form the dough into a 3/4 inch think sheet. Cut the dough into strips about an inch wide. Roll these strips so they are round and then cut into 1 inch pieces.
Use a fork to make little ridges in the gnocchi. There are boards out there with ridges that allow you to roll the ridges but most people likely don’t have one of those. A good trick is to pinch the gnocchi so that it doesn’t flatten and then use the fork.
Make sure to dust them with flour so they don’t stick. Either cook quickly or freeze and save for up to a few months. Tip: when cooking gently lower the gnocchi into boiling water and give the water swirl to ensure the gnocchi doesn’t stick.
Wine Pairing: Sullivan Rutherford Estate Cab 2010
Sullivan is a great little winery. We discovered it the first time we went to Napa randomly when looking at a guide book in our hotel. We honestly were blown away by the place. Between the winery itself, the story, the staff, and the wine it was the perfect find. The winery is located in the Rutherford AVA north of Yountville set back a bit from the road. The winery has both indoor and outdoor tasting spaces. If the weather permits, definitely go for the outdoor and bring a few snacks to enjoy while tasting!!
We got this 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon as part of one of our wine club shipments from Sullivan. It’s an older, library release from Sullivan and as you would expect from an older wine has mellowed a bit. It is a very smooth Cab; packed with flavor but not to heavy that it makes food an afterthought.
Homemade Gnocchi with Bolognese
- 6 Yukon Gold Potatoes peeled and cut into 1.5″ pieces
- 1 Cup Flour Semolina Preferred (use alternative to make gluten free)
- 1 Egg whisked
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 Lb Mild Italian Pork Sausage
- 1 Lb Ground Beef
- 1/2 Cup Pancetta
- 4 Cloves Garlic minced
- 12 oz Can Tomato Puree
- 8 oz Can Crushed Tomato
- 1/2 Tsp Red Pepper Flake
- 1/4 Tsp Fennel Seed
- 1/4 Tsp Oregano
- 1 Sprig Fresh Oregano or Rosemary
- 1/2 Yellow Onion finely diced
- 1 Carrot peeled and small diced
- 1/2 Cup Red Wine Cab or Chianti
- 1 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Cook the potatoes until fork tender either by boiling, steaming, or pressure cooking. Steam for 20 minutes or Instant Pot pressure cook on High with 2 cups of water below steamer basket for 10 minutes with a 5 minute natural release.
- Rice/Mill/Mash the potatoes.
- Put half the flour on a board, lay the potatoes over, and then cover with the remaining flour. Gently fold in some of the flour and form a well in the center.
- Add the egg to the well and start to stir the potato/flour mix into the egg.
- Gently fold until well combine but light and airy in texture. Add more flour to the mix and board as need to prevent sticking
- Form into a thick (3/4-1″) sheet. Cut the sheet into ~1.25″ wide strips.
- Roll the strips until round and ~1″ in diameter. Cut into 1 Inch pieces. Dust lightly with flour to prevent sticking.
- Use a fork to make grooves on the gnocchi.
- Either immediately cook in salted, boiling water for 3-5 minutes (gnocchi will float when done) or freeze on parchment lined sheet pan and store for up to several months.
- In a small sauce pan, heat 1 Tsp olive oil over medium heat.
- Add 1/4 Cup of the yellow onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add 2 of the minced garlic cloves, 1/2 the red pepper flake, and the fennel seed for the last minute.
- Add the tomatoes, balsamic, and oregano, reduce heat to low and simmer while cooking preparing the meat for the bolognese.
- Render down the pancetta with 1 tbs olive oil starting from a cold pan (recommend a saute pan) and bringing it up to heat over medium-high heat.
- Once rendered and crispy, remove the pancetta and put it on some paper towel to absorb excess fat.
- Add a little more olive oil, if needed. Add the onion and carrots to the pan and cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the remaining garlic and red pepper flake for the last minute.
- Add the sausage and ground beef. Allow to cook most of the way through. Add the pancetta back in at the end.
- Add the wine and allow to reduce for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Allow the mixture to simmer for 25-30 minutes.