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It’s easy and fun to make light, tender homemade potato gnocchi using Russet potatoes. Follow my step-by-step directions to learn the secret to the best light and fluffy gnocchi from scratch. It’s not as hard as you think! Cook and serve with any of our best pasta sauces or this easy homemade marinara.
This is my go-to homemade Italian gnocchi recipe, one of the best Italian pasta recipes my grandma would make. It’s an easy potato gnocchi recipe that never fails, and they are so fun and easy to make.
The gnocchi turn out light and fluffy, as any respectable potato dumpling should be, perfect for any kind of sauce pairing — if not classic tomato, how does mushroom gnocchi with blue cheese sauce sound?
- How to make homemade gnocchi
- The best potato types for making gnocchi
- Gnocchi sauce recipes
- Italian potato gnocchi recipe
They’ll be delicious with our favorite easy marinara tomato sauce, or a simple, never-fail garlic-butter sauce.
How to make potato gnocchi from scratch
The process of making gnocchi is really fun, especially if you have willing kitchen helpers. My kids loved getting their hands on the dough when they were wee ones — and they’re still pretty good at it! We even make gnocchi with ricotta cheese for an extra-light pasta.
- Bake potatoes until tender, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- Peel the potatoes.
- Scoop out the flesh and mash.
- Make a dough with eggs, flour and salt.
- Roll into logs and cut into bit-size pieces.
- Boil, sauce and serve.
The secret to making light and fluffy gnocchi
The best gnocchi are made with baked potatoes rather than boiled. You get lighter gnocchi because the spuds don’t absorb as much water. That means you won’t need as much flour in the dough, which can make the dumplings heavy. Cool, right?
The best types of potatoes for making gnocchi
I’ve tried different types of potatoes while testing this recipe over the years.
- I recommend using a baking-type potato variety such as Russet or Idaho to make gnocchi dough, because they are drier and have more starch than waxy and/or yellow potatoes.
- The starchy potato merges gracefully with the flour and egg, making a pliable, easy-to-handle dough.
If you don’t have a wooden gnocchi board, to roll the gnocchi on, you can just use a fork to make the distinctive grooves in each dumpling. However, you will miss out on the pleasure of feeling just like an Italian mama!
Tips for storage and serving
- To make Russet potato gnocchi ahead: Arrange the gnocchi on a rimmed baking sheet, lightly dusted with flour. Place the sheet in the freezer until the gnocchi are frozen solid, then transfer them to a freezer bag or other sealed container. Gnocchi can be frozen up to 2 months.
- To cook: Frozen gnocchi can go straight from the freezer to a pot of boiling water.
- This recipe makes enough pesto for about four servings of gnocchi, or about a pound of pasta. But the pesto is so good you might want to make a double batch and freeze it for a rainy day. Transfer the pesto to small freezer-safe containers. Dribble a small amount of olive oil over the surface and cover the container securely.
- Freeze the pesto sauce up to 3 months.
Sauces for homemade gnocchi
- Mushroom Bolognese Sauce
- Simple Tomato Marinara Sauce
- Creamy Blue Cheese and Mushroom Sauce
- Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
Italian gnocchi Recipe
Homemade Potato Gnocchi Recipe
- 2 pounds (950 g) Russet baking potatoes, about 3 or 4 potatoes
- 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup (50 g) toasted walnuts
- 1 ¼ cups (25 g) Italian parsley leaves, thicker stems trimmed
- ⅓ cup (33 g) grated parmesan cheese
- 1 small garlic clove
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
To make the gnocchi:
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Poke the potatoes a few times with a fork and place directly on the oven rack. Bake about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until tender when pierced.
- When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skins (or scoop the flesh out with a spoon). Push them through the large holes of a food mill or ricer into a large bowl, or mash them by hand with a potato masher or fork.
- Add the salt, egg yolks and 2 cups flour and mix together to form a shaggy dough. Turn the mixture out onto a floured surface and knead, adding a little more flour if needed, until the dough is soft and smooth.
- Divide the dough into portions the size of the palm of your hand. On a floured surface, roll each into a rope about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into 1-inch lengths. Roll each wad of dough firmly over a gnocchi board or the concave side of a fork. Arrange the gnocchi on a floured baking sheet as you go.
- Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil. Drop the gnocchi, in batches, into the water and boil until they bob to the surface, about 3 minutes. Scoop out the cooked gnocchi into a colander set over a bowl to drain. Scoop 1/4 cup of the cooking water and reserve.
- To serve, stir a about a tablespoon of reserved cooking water into the pesto sauce until it’s smooth. Toss the gnocchi gently with the sauce in a serving bowl, and top with grated Parmesan.
To make the pesto:
- Put the walnuts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the parsley, cheese, olive oil, salt and garlic.
- Process until the pesto is smooth.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- To be sure you always have a late-night gnocchi stash on hand, make a batch of gnocchi and freeze them. Arrange them one layer on a tray and place in the freezer.
- When they’re frozen solid, transfer the gnocchi to zippered bags. Keep frozen up to 2 months before cooking.