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Let’s just be clear from the beginning: In this recipe we’re talking about real gnocchi. Not those crude chewy pieces of yellowy rubber that you can buy in some supermarkets. Those shouldn’t even be allowed to be called gnocchi. No, I’m talking about those fluffy little pieces of heaven–light and airy just like they’re supposed to be.
Ingredients for 4 people:
- 800 grams of potatoes or approximately 7 to 9 medium sized potatoes (floury type, e.g. Russet potato)
- 160 grams of white flour (maybe a little more)
- 500 grams of tomato passata (purée)
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stick
- 1 onion
- 1 big clove of garlic
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Some fresh basil leaves
- Salt and pepper
First of all let us tell you a little secret about the perfect gnocchi: Always use as little flour as possible!
Older potatoes contain a lot less water than fresher, new potatoes, making gnocchi the perfect dish to use up all of those potatoes you bought earlier in the week. Plus, since they are less watery, you’ll need less flour in the end, which will make the gnocchi even more delicious!
Preheat your oven to 200° Celsius / 390° Fahrenheit. Once it has reached the correct temperature, put the potatoes on your oven rack for about an hour. Cooking them this way they’ll lose even more of their water content which means we’re one step closer to making the perfect gnocchi.
Meanwhile dice the onion, carrot and the celery stick very finely. Pour your olive oil into the pan and wait a few minutes for it to heat up. Once the oil is hot, add your onion, crushed garlic, carrots and celery. Stir it for a short while until the onion becomes translucent. Now you can add the tomato passata. Season it with some salt, pepper and a tiny bit of cinnamon. Afterwards let it simmer on a low temperature for around an hour. Add a bit of water in your sauce every now and then so the sauce doesn’t become too thick but stays nice and creamy.
Once your potatoes are ready, take them out of the oven and very carefully remove the peels while the potatoes are still hot. Put your peeled potatoes through a food mill. Next add the flour, salt and nutmeg to the milled potatoes. It’s important to add the flour slowly, just a little bit at a time until it reaches a dough like consistency. Remember the goal is to add as little flour as possible, just enough that everything sticks together.
Also: This is not a bread nor is it a pizza! There’s no need to knead the dough, just mix the ingredients gently together.
Now we’re ready to make the gnocchi. Begin by rolling out the dough into rolls, approximately 2 centimeters thick. Use a dough scraper or a knife to cut the roll into little pieces of about 1,5 centimeters. Now roll those little dough pieces over the back of a fork to give them their typical shape. To make this process even easier, try using a gnocchi board like the Eppicotispai Garganelli and Gnocchi Stripper.
Once your gnocchi are formed, bring a pot of water to boil. While the water is heating up, puree your sauce in a high powered blender like the Ninja Foodi Blender, a food processor–i.e. the Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor (our favorite for this type of dish)–or for minimal mess and clean up try an immersion blender like the Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender! You want your sauce to be thinner so it will stick in the little ridges of the gnocchi. Now it’s time to add the finely chopped basil to your sauce. Once your water is boiling, add some salt and put your gnocchi in the water.
They only take a couple of minutes to cook. Take them out of the water as soon as they’re floating on top.
Add two tablespoons of the cooking water to your tomato sauce and mix it. Swivel your gnocchi briefly in the sauce before serving them.
Enjoy and bon appetite! After feasting on these, you’ll never go back to those rubbery supermarket “gnocchi” again!