How to Make Basil Gnocchi

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How to Make Basil Gnocchi Dough

Step by Step Guide To Making Gnocchi Dough From Scratch

Gnocchi are small potato dumplings that when cooked, fluff up into one of the most tender and delicious comforting foods you’ve ever tried. In this recipe I’m going to show you how I make my basil gnocchi and the tips and tricks I follow to make sure these little pillowy dumplings turn out perfect.

The classic recipe calls for 3 main ingredients: potatoes, flour and eggs. I like to have fun with tastes and textures, so this time I added some grated pecorino cheese and about half a cup of basil. I really like how cheesy and fragrant they turn out just by adding these 2 ingredients. It is an amazing addition to any kind of sauce, as simple as it may be.

CategoryPastaDifficultyBeginnerAuthorMadalina - Get Savoury

Yields2 Servings
Prep Time30 minsCook Time30 minsTotal Time1 hr

 3 medium potatoes, cold, mashed
 2 cups all purpose flour
 1 medium sized egg
 1 cup freshly chopped basil
  cup dry cheese
 ½ tsp salt

1

In a large pot, boil the potatoes with the skin on. Leaving the skin on helps keep the starches inside the potatoes, which means your gnocchi will have the desired light and fluffy consistency after you cook them.

Ingredients for fresh gnocchi: flour, egg, mashed potatoes, chopped basil, grated cheese, salt

2

Once they boiled, set the potatoes aside to cool. At this step you may want to peel the potatoes. If you leave them with the skin on, they will get some of that unpleasant skin taste/smell.

3

In the mean time, weigh the rest of your ingredients, grate the cheese and chop the basil.

4

When your potatoes are cold, or even slightly warm, mix in the rest of the ingredients and knead the potato dough for 2-4 minutes until everything is incorporated. Don't over knead the dough to avoid rubbery gnocchi.

5

Let the dough set for about 5-10 minutes and follow the next steps for cooking and/or storing your gnocchis.

Ingredients

 3 medium potatoes, cold, mashed
 2 cups all purpose flour
 1 medium sized egg
 1 cup freshly chopped basil
  cup dry cheese
 ½ tsp salt

Directions

1

In a large pot, boil the potatoes with the skin on. Leaving the skin on helps keep the starches inside the potatoes, which means your gnocchi will have the desired light and fluffy consistency after you cook them.

Ingredients for fresh gnocchi: flour, egg, mashed potatoes, chopped basil, grated cheese, salt

2

Once they boiled, set the potatoes aside to cool. At this step you may want to peel the potatoes. If you leave them with the skin on, they will get some of that unpleasant skin taste/smell.

3

In the mean time, weigh the rest of your ingredients, grate the cheese and chop the basil.

4

When your potatoes are cold, or even slightly warm, mix in the rest of the ingredients and knead the potato dough for 2-4 minutes until everything is incorporated. Don't over knead the dough to avoid rubbery gnocchi.

5

Let the dough set for about 5-10 minutes and follow the next steps for cooking and/or storing your gnocchis.

How to Make Basil Gnocchi

Shaping the Gnocchi Dough

How to shape your gnocchi

While there are various machines and devices out there designed to help you achieve the perfect shape for your little gnocchi pillows, to me the perfection lays in the taste and texture, so I avoid bothering with details such as making everything the same shape and size.

So next time you make these, relax and have fun with them. They don’t need to be perfect. That’s actually the beauty of handcrafting your own dough.

  1. With a rolling pin, roll your dough into a 1 inch thick sheet
  2. With a pastry cutter, cut your dough into strips, then cut the strips into small 1 inch pieces
  3. You can use a fork to add ridges to your gnocchi or you can leave them plain. While this step is purely about aesthetics, you might want to add the ridges if you’re going to serve them with a thicker, meatier sauce like a ragu or a chunkier tomato sauce. This is going to help the sauce stick better to your gnocchi.

Boiling and Storing the Gnocchi

Next, you have two options: you can either cook them right away or you can choose to store them for later.

Here are my tips:

  1. Slightly dry them: From working with dough for a long time in a restaurant, I learnt that it’s important to let your dough dry on a wooden board before you cook it. That will help take out some of the moisture from the dough, which means they will cook better and they will freeze better. If you’re not going to use them right away, refrigerate them for up to 2 hours before using them. Don’t refrigerate them for longer, to prevent them from turning into mash during the cooking process.
  2. Cook them: To cook the gnocchi, add them to a large pot with boiling water, that you previously added a few teaspoons of salt to. Drop them in in small batches and cook them for 2-3 minutes until they pop to the surface.
  3. Store them: These gnocchi store really well in the freezer. Lay them on a wooden surface to dry for up to 2 hours then transfer them to a flat baking tray and place them into the freezer where you want to keep them for a few hours. Once they’re completely frozen, you can take the tray out and put the gnocchi in a ziplock bag, and back into the freezer.

How Do You Eat Gnocchi?

There are different ways to serve gnocchi. In Italy gnocchi is served both as a first course instead of pasta, which is usually paired with a lighter, oil/butter based sauce, or as a main dish, accompanied by a hearty, more consistent sauce, usually containing meat.

My two favourite ways to eat gnocchi are:

1. Toss the lightly boiled gnocchi with some butter and sage and serve them with poached salmon.

2. Pan sear the gnocchi with tomato sauce, bacon bits and basil. Top with lots of cheese and serve hot.

Stay tuned for my best sauce recipe for gnocchi next week!