It’s easy and fun to make light, tender homemade potato gnocchi. Toss with walnut-parsley pesto or your favorite sauce!
This is my go-to potato gnocchi recipe, the one I make over and over again. The gnocchi turn out light and fluffy, as any respectable potato dumpling should be. They’ll be delicious with your favorite tomato or garlic butter sauce, but I love them coated with this beautiful wintergreen pesto sauce made with toasted walnuts and parsley.
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!
The secret to the cloud-like texture of these gnocchi is to bake the potatoes rather than boiling them. You get lighter gnocchi because the spuds don’t absorb too much water — 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, 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!
rosemary potato gnocchi with walnut-parsley pesto
Yield 4 servings
To be sure you always have a late-night gnocchi stash on hand, make a batch of gnocchi ahead and freeze them: lay them out on a tray and place in the freezer. When they're frozen solid, transfer the gnocchi to zippered bags.
- 3 large baking potatoes, about 2 pounds total
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 – 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
- 1 1/4 cups Italian parsley leaves, thicker stems trimmed
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 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, or until tender when pierced. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skins and push them through a food mill or ricer into a large bowl.
- Add the salt, egg yolks and 2 cups flour and mix together. Turn the mixture out onto a floured surface and knead, adding more flour if needed, until a soft (but not sticky), smooth dough forms.
- Divide the dough into portions the size of the palm of your hand, and 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 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.
For 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.