Making Potato Gnocchi from scratch sounds scarier than it really is. Honestly! Basically, all you have to do is make mashed potatoes, roll them into ropes, cut them into 1″ pieces, and boil them. You can even get the kids involved…or your spouse.
The potatoes need to be lump-free, so you’ll need either a ricer or a food mill. Another tool that is nice, but not essential, is a gnocchi board (see photo) to form the ridges. A fork will work if you don’t have one. (The ridges help hold the sauce.)
A huge bonus to making gnocchi is they freeze well so, as long as you’re at it, you may as well make extra for those days when you lack the desire, time, energy, and desire (it bears mentioning twice!) to cook.
I’ve included a Brown Butter Sage Sauce recipe below, but you can top gnocchi with pesto, pink sauce, or anything you fancy.
- 1.5 lbs (approximately) russet potatoes
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp salt
Peel and chop potatoes in thirds. Boil in salted water until easily pierced with a fork. Drain.
Immediately put the hot potatoes through a ricer or food mill. Stir in the salt and flour first, then the egg. (Adding the flour first cools down the potatoes a bit to prevent cooking the egg.)
Empty the potato mixture onto a well floured board and knead the dough for about 30 seconds to get it to stick together.
Have ready a cookie sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper and, if you’re going to be eating immediately, start the water boiling in a large pot.
Pull off kiwi sized (it really doesn’t matter is it’s not exact) hunks of potato dough and, on a well floured board, roll into a rope 1/2″ in diameter. If your rope is too long for your board, use a smaller hunk for the rest. Slice into 1″ segments. Form ridges by rolling each one along a gnocchi board or the backside of a fork, going towards the tip of the tines. The ridges help the sauce to adhere to the gnocchi. Place them on the cookie sheet, not touching. Continue until all dough is done.
When the water is fully boiling, drop in desired amount of gnocchi. Once they’ve all floated to the top, turn off heat and let them sit in water for 30 seconds. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon to the sauce. Save the gnocchi water to add to the sauce, as needed – the water will extend the sauce, and the flour will thicken it.
NOTE: If you don’t want to cook the gnocchi immediately, place cookie sheet in freezer. When gnocchi are frozen, store them in portion sized containers.
BROWN BUTTER SAGE SAUCE – for 2-3 servings
- 4 T butter
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 tsp fresh sage, chopped
- 1½ tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
NOTE: Prepare the sauce just before cooking the gnocchi.
Melt butter in a 10″-12″ skillet over medium-high flame, swirling until butter turns amber and becomes aromatic (about 1½-2 minutes). Remove pan from burner and add in sage and shallots, stirring for 1 minute off-heat (the residual heat is enough to cook the sage and shallots). Blend in salt and lemon juice. Cover to keep warm.
Spoon cooked gnocchi directly into sauce. Add gnocchi water, if needed to expand the sauce.
Top with a grated hard cheese such as Pecorino-Romano, if you like.