Gnocchi are the ultimate comfort food and a longstanding tradition in our home. They’re surprisingly easy to make, although they do take some time to prepare. I hope that you’ll discover how amazingly yummy gnocchi are when they’re made from scratch and that making them will become a tradition in your home, too!
Gnocchi are one of my favorite comfort foods. Hands down.
But it wasn’t always that way.
When I was growing up, the only times I tried gnocchi were at restaurants where they were inevitably smothered in a cream sauce. Which didn’t end well for lactose-intolerant me. They were heavy and pasty, and I didn’t understand their appeal. At. All.
When I met my husband, though, everything changed – including my attitude towards gnocchi.
Gnocchi one of the first recipes that my husband (who’s from Argentina) and I started developing and making on a regular basis together when we first started dating many years ago. My husband introduced me to making gnocchi from scratch and to eating them with a tomato-based sauce or even just plain with a little olive oil and salt. Or a pesto sauce. Or for a particular cold winter’s day, a hearty Bolognese sauce. And just like that, gnocchi became one of my favorite foods.
Gnocchi are fantastic any time of the year, whatever the weather, but they’re especially scrumptious when the weather is cold. There’s nothing better than being cozy and warm inside, rolling out gnocchi, and then tucking into a steaming bowl of freshly cooked gnocchi made from scratch.
Gnocchi are originally Italian, but they are also very Argentinean. In Argentina, they’re called “noqui” and they are traditionally eaten on the 29th day of each month. Everyone gets paid at the end of the month in Argentina, so by the 29th, there might not be much left in your kitchen to make something fancy, but you can probably rustle up some potatoes, eggs and flour from the pantry to put a filling, delicious, and economical meal on the table.
Many people are surprised by the huge influence of Italian food on Argentinean cuisine. In the second half of the 19th century, there was a huge migration of Italians into South America as a result of the dismantling of the feudal system. The two biggest draws? Brazil and Argentina. Brazil actually had more Italian immigrants than Argentina, but Brazil also has a much larger population than Argentina. Italian immigrants made up a larger percentage of the population in Argentina.
That’s why Argentinean food today is primarily Italian food but with its own twists – lots of fresh pasta, amazing pizzas, giant empanadas (empanadotas) that are like calzones, Bolognese sauce, pesto sauce, polenta and so on. And definitely nothing spicy. And no rice.
My husband grew up spending a lot of time at his paternal grandmother’s house. She was an immigrant from Sicily and apparently an outstanding cook. There’s a story that my husband likes to tell about his abuela’s gnocchi. When his mom was dating his dad, she was invited to dinner at home with his parents. Her future mother-in-law made gnocchi – piles of gnocchi. She gave my husband’s mom a plate piled so high with gnocchi that my mother-in-law thought it was the serving plate for the whole table. She tried to pass it around and offer gnocchi to everyone else, and I’m assuming everyone laughed.
My husband’s grandmother always calculated for fifty gnocchi per serving. I really love gnocchi, but I’m not even sure that I can eat fifty in one meal. But, if you want to make sure that you don’t run short, it’s a good number to use to figure out how much gnocchi to make. This recipe uses about 750 g of potatoes (that’s three large Yukon Gold potatoes), and it was enough for 5 moderately sized servings. That was lunch and dinner for both me and my husband and then breakfast for our daughter (she has no concept of "breakfast foods" - if she likes something at dinner, then she wants it for breakfast the next day). If I were cooking this for any adults in addition to my husband and me, I would double the recipe.
Please don’t be intimidated by gnocchi. They’re surprisingly easy to make, and there's really no wrong way to make them. Don’t worry about how your little gnocchi look – each gnocchi is perfect in its dumpling imperfection. Revel in letting go of perfection and enjoy the feel of the dough and the quietness of the process. It can’t be rushed.
Making gnocchi is for me a kind of meditation. It’s one of the few times when I actually sit down while cooking. When it was just my husband and me, we would have long, quiet conversations while rolling out gnocchi. My daughter hasn’t bought into the appeal of making gnocchi yet, but she’s a very appreciative gnocchi-eater and even eats them for breakfast when we have leftovers (please make enough so that you have leftovers – you will definitely not regret it). Now I’m usually the only one rolling out the gnocchi, but there’s a kind of peace that falls over the kitchen when I’m rolling gnocchi and my husband and daughter are playing a game together. And everyone knows that soon… there will be gnocchi.
Why You’ll LOVE This Recipe
- Ultimate comfort food
- Gluten Free and Dairy Free
- Easy to make
- Can be prepared ahead
- Delicous plain or with most pasta sauces
Ingredients for Gluten Free Gnocchi From Scratch
- Yukon Gold potatoes
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
Notes on Ingredients
Potatoes – Ah, the potatoes. One could publish tomes about which potatoes to use for gnocchi. Most recipes will tell you to use russet potatoes. Russets work if you’re using a regular flour with gluten, because russets are very starchy. But when you add gluten free flours to russet potatoes, it’s like adding more starch to starch. The result is a gnocchi that crumbles and turns into mush as it cools and the little gnocchi turn into a big pile of mashed potatoes. Not good. Many people swear by russets as the way to get “pillow-y” gnocchi, but I’ll tell you the truth – gnocchi shouldn’t be totally fluffy and “pillow-y”. I like them a bit toothsome – soft but a little chewy with a good mouth feel. I have found that Yukon Gold potatoes with gluten-free flour make the best gnocchi.
Eggs – These are the binder. I have made these gnocchi with Egg Replacer as well, and that worked fine, too, if you’re avoiding eggs or vegan.
Flour – I have found that you just can’t beat Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. It’s my go-to one-stop flour that works for almost any recipe. It’s super easy, and it makes this recipe turn out perfectly.
How to Make Gluten Free Gnocchi From Scratch
I know, I know. Who has time to make gnocchi from scratch?
Don’t give up. I have a lot of tricks that will make the process a whole lot easier.
How to Prepare the Potatoes
First, cook the potatoes ahead of time. You can even cook them two days before you plan on eating gnocchi. Just peel and boil them while you’re cooking a different meal or doing the dishes or watching your favorite baking show. Then, take the potatoes out of the water and put them in a strainer to get all the extra water off. Next, put them in a bowl and stick them in the fridge. Leave them there overnight.
Spending a night in the fridge has three benefits for our gnocchi-bound potatoes: 1) They dry out more, 2) You don’t have to handle them when they’re hot (hot potato, anyone?), and 3) Letting the sit in the fridge overnight lowers their starch count which is a plus for anyone following a low-carb diet or an anti-candida diet.
The next day, rice the potatoes. You can also just mash them with a fork, but I highly recommend this potato ricer. It’s a game changer. Yes, you’ll probably only use it to make gnocchi, so it’s definitely a kitchen gadget that will take up room somewhere in your kitchen. I lived for many years in apartments with impossibly tiny kitchens – one had literally no counter space. Just a tiny old stove and a tiny old sink and a fridge that I could see the top of. I definitely had no room for extra gadgets, and I didn’t have the money for them, either. But if you love gnocchi, a ricer makes a world of difference.
No ricer? No problem. Just mash them with a fork and make sure there are no lumps left in the potatoes.
Now, you’re on day 2 of the gnocchi journey. At this point, you could just put your bowl of riced or mashed potatoes back in the fridge and finish the process the same day that you cook them. Or, you could go ahead and shape the gnocchi and have them sitting in the fridge ready to go for the following day when you’re ready to cook – and eat – them.
Add the eggs to the potatoes and stir until combined. Then, add the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and use your hands to incorporate all of the flour into the dough until the dough is a smooth ball.
How to Shape the Gnocchi
Set up your work space on a table. It’s nice to sit down and relax while you’re rolling gnocchi, if you can. Get a wooden cutting board, a regular knife, a fork, and a baking sheet that’s lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat (just so that the gnocchi don’t stick to the tray).
Sprinkle the cutting board with a little bit of the gluten free flour. Grab a fistful of dough and roll it into a log on the cutting board. The log should be about ½ inch in diameter. It’s easiest to roll the log if you start from the middle with both hands and gently work your way out to the ends.
Next, use the knife to cut the log into segments that are about ¾ of an inch long. You want them to be about the same width as the tines on your fork, and you’ll understand why in just a second.
Getting Your Grooves On
Now you have little potato dumplings. And some people like to cook them when they’re smooth like this, but it’s really worth it to do the next step of making grooves in the gnocchi. The grooves catch and hold whatever yummy sauce you put on the gnocchi, so they don’t just look good – they’re functional.
To make the grooves, hold the fork with your non-dominant hand as if you’re going to eat with it. With your dominant hand, pick up a gnocchi and gently roll it from the base of the tines to the tips of the tines so that the gnocchi rolls off the end. Don’t press too hard or the gnocchi will crumble. Just enough pressure to make the ridges. Don’t rush it. I’m a pretty slow gnocchi maker, but I really enjoy it. Give yourself time to enjoy it.
My mother-in-law can make gnocchi with a deftness that is truly impressive. If I had to hire her or me to make gnocchi for an business, she would get the job – no question. But I’m not selling gnocchi, and it’s a good exercise for me to sloooooow down and be present.
Once you have formed the gnocchi with its ridges, place it on the baking sheet. If the gnocchi are sticking, sprinkle them with a little bit of gluten free flour.
Cooking the Gnocchi
Use the biggest pot you have to cook the gnocchi. I like to use about 5 L of water to cook the gnocchi. The reason why is that you’re going to cook the gnocchi in batches, and you don’t want the temperature of the boiling water to drop. The more water you have in the pot, the more consistent the temperature will stay (as long as you don’t crowd the pot – which you won’t).
I suggest putting the pot of water to boil on the stove about 30 minutes before you intend on using it. It’s super annoying to be waiting for a huge pot of water to boil when you want to serve gnocchi to guests or you’re super hungry to eat your delicious gnocchi.
Oh! And don’t forget the salt in the water. Be generous with adding salt to the water. You might have noticed that there is NO SALT in the gnocchi dough. Salting the water is essential or your gnocchi will be a bit bland.
Once the water is boiling, drop about 1 cup of gnocchi (about a handful or two) into the water. Don’t crowd the pot. The gnocchi will sink underwater, and then, when they’re cooked, they will float. This should take just a few minutes – no more than 3. Any longer than that, and you will have some tough gnocchi.
When the gnocchi are all floating at the top, you should have a generous ring of water around them – if you don’t, then you’re crowding the pot. You want to put fewer gnocchi in the pot the next time around.
Remove the gnocchi from the pot using a spider strainer (one of my favorite kitchen tools ever!). Place the gnocchi in a bowl and toss gently with a little olive oil to prevent them sticking to each other.
Continue cooking the gnocchi in batches until they are all done.
Serve the gnocchi simply with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, or serve with your favorite pasta sauce. Check out my pesto sauce here for a summery take or my classic tuco sauce for a fresh tomato sauce. If you’re looking for something heavier, try my Bolognese sauce. Whichever sauce you choose, you’re going to enjoy your handmade gnocchi. Eat and enjoy!!!!
More delicious Argentinean recipes:
- Pastel de Papas - Argentinean Shepherd's Pie
- Paleo Fried Chicken Tenders - Pollo Milanesa
- Alfajores Cookies - Sugar Free Gluten Free Dairy Free
Gnocchi - Gluten Free
- 750 g Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled about 3 large potatoes
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, plus more for dusting
- Peel the potatoes and chop into large chunks.
- Boil the potatoes in a pot of unsalted water until they are soft and a fork can pierce them easily.
- Let the potatoes cool in the refrigerator.
- Use a ricer to rice the potatoes (alternatively, use a fork to mask the potatoes until no lumps remain.
- Add the eggs and the flour. Stir with a spoon until a dough forms.
- Place a large pot of generously salted water(about 5 L) on the stove and bring to a boil.
- While waiting for the water to boil, shape the gnocchi.
- Sprinkle a large wooden cutting board with flour.
- Take a portion of the dough and roll it out into a log about ½ inch in diameter.
- Cut the log into segments that are about ¾ of an inch long.
- Using a fork, press each dough segment gently onto the tines of a fork and roll the gnocchi to the end of the tines, leaving grooves in the gnocchi.
- Place the gnocchi on a baking tray sprinkled with flour or lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Don’t pile the gnocchi on top of each other. Try to keep each one separate.
- Once all of your gnocchi are shaped and the large pot of water is boiling, you’re ready to start cooking.
- Put about 1 cup of gnocchi into the pot of boiling water at a time. They will sink to the bottom. Once they rise up and float on the surface, then they are cooked. Wait for the whole batch to rise to the surface, then remove them using a spider strainer.
- Place the cooked gnocchi in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil to prevent them from sticking together.
- Repeat until all of the gnocchi are cooked.
- Serve simply drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, or top with your favorite sauce – tuco sauce, pesto sauce ,or Bolognese pair beautifully with gnocchi. Eat and enjoy!
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