How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

This gnocchi recipe was taught to me when a friend came to visit from Genoa, Italy. Her mother came with her, and one night, alongside a small mountain of beautiful, fragrant basil, she taught us her homemade gnocchi recipe. I posted about the pesto we made to go with it in a separate post, and as promised the gnocchi as a followup. You ready!?

How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

Gnocchi takes Patience

Gnocchi recipes aren’t for the faint of heart. Many, many things can go awry. I’m not trying to scare you off or dissuade you, I just want you to know what you are in for. Gnocchi-making takes practice, patience, and persistence. At their best, potato gnocchi can be light and delicate. At their worst, dense, rubbery, and/or soggy. The very worst are the gnocchi that come apart in the boiling water before they even reach your plate.
How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

The Simplest Ingredients

The platter of petite, potato pillows coated with glistening flecks of basil pesto that Francesca’s mother made us that night was beautiful. The gnocchi recipe she taught us had just three ingredients – boiled, starchy russet potatoes combined with a minimal amount of flour (too much flour and your gnocchi are going to be heavy), and a bit of salt – no eggs. I’ve tweaked her version to be a little more user-friendly here, because to be honest, eggless gnocchi are very tricky to get the hang of, very delicate to handle. I’m afraid if I post the eggless version here, there will be a number of you who will try it, get frustrated, and curse me. So, a bit of egg it is.
How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

This Gnocchi Recipe: The Details

In the version here, I incorporate just enough egg to act as a bit of a binder for the gnocchi. We still aren’t using an excessive amount of flour, and the resulting gnocchi are deliciously light. They can also stand up to a toss with your favorite sauce. You can see them pictured at the top of this post, tossed with this favorite pesto.

If you are committed to trying the eggless version, try this version first. After that, perhaps the next time around, use half the egg, and the time after that go for no egg. By that time, you should have all the other steps figured out and you’ll have a better vantage point and level of experience from which to work You’ll also have a better sense of how to handle and work with the dough.

So, here it is – the long awaited gnocchi recipe. Give it a go, and let me know what you think. If you know how to make pesto, this is the time to do it! A simple toss is perfect. 

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