Homemade Potato Gnocchi with Pesto Sauce

by YourFoodBuddy
plate with homemade gnocchi with pesto sauce

Last Updated on March 9, 2020 by Cookie

Potato Gnocchi is a basic preparation typical of Italian cuisine. With a delicate and dominant taste of potatoes, gnocchi are perfect with any type of seasoning and make a tasty first course such as Gnocchi al Pesto!

Follow this gnocchi recipe to find out all the secrets on how to prepare homemade gnocchi. This recipe will guide you to get the softest and most exquisite gnocchi ever. 

What is Gnocchi?

Gnocchi are little dumplings made of a mixture of boiled potatoes, eggs, and flour. These are rounded shaped dumplings or larger pieces with stripes. Gnocchi are boiled in salted water then added to the traditional Italian pesto sauce.

gnocchi with stripes and flour

Like any traditional Italian recipe, there are numerous variations of the dish depending on the region. Although it comes from the same country, northern and southern Italy have their own cultural and culinary imprints on the recipes. Today I will share with you the classic potato Gnocchi recipe, a simple preparation inherited from my family which migrated to Italy decades ago. 

The secret to the perfect gnocchi is to use old, floury and starchy potatoes. Starchy potatoes will allow you to obtain a non-watery dough that needs little flour. Remember that the less flour you add to the gnocchi, the softer they come out. Little lower in this article you will find all the advice starting with the choice of ingredients, how to make the gnocchi dough, how to shape gnocchi. How to perfectly cook gnocchi and some suggestions on how to season the gnocchi. This recipe is a piece a cake even for those you have little experience in the kitchen. 

Ingredients for Gnocchi dough

Although it may seem like a complicated thing to do, gnocchi dough imply only a few basic ingredients that require more of your dedication and love rather than anything else. 

  • Yellow potatoes 1 kg.
  • All-purpose flour 300 g
  • Egg, 1 medium
  • Salt to taste

potato ricer, boiled potatoes with eg flour salt and pesto sauce
The old potatoes are best for the gnocchi dough because of high starch consistency that will make the paste sticky and will keep it together upon boiling. Avoid using young potatoes because they are very watery and will force you to use more flour and the dumplings will come out too hard.

The longer the dough is kneaded, the harder the dumpling will be. It is therefore important to know how to prepare the dough for the right time to obtain the right consistency.

gnocchi dough

Gnocchi dough without eggs

For those who are egg-intolerant and vegan, you can prepare the gnocchi dough without eggs. Follow the same instruction steps on how to make the gnocchi dough. Just work the mixture with dry and cold potatoes. The egg allows to better bind the ingredients but above all to keep the shape in cooking. However, the taste will not be negatively affected by the lack of egg in the mixture. 

How to boil potatoes for the gnocchi dough

To prepare the gnocchi, start by boiling the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with plenty of cold water.  From the moment the water is boiling, let them cook at medium-low heat for about 30 minutes. Bigger sized potatoes will take a little longer to be boiled. 

Do the fork test to check if the potatoes are ready.  If the prongs penetrate to the middle of the potato without difficulty, then you can drain the water. Let potatoes cool down for about 15 minutes for you to be able to hold them in your hand and peel off the skin. Do not put potatoes in cold water because they will absorb too much water and lose too much starch, very needed for the dough elasticity.

making gnocchi dough

How to make the gnocchi dough

To make the potato dough, you will need a large bowl where to mix the ingredients. 

Peel potatoes while they are warm and crush them using a potato ricer. It is a wonderful tool that you can use for various recipes. I truly recommend it to anyone who loves potatoes recipes. 

Add a cup of flour over the mashed potatoes with a pinch of salt and crack one egg on top of it. Work everything with your hands until the dough is ready. Add flour if necessary. Remember that by working them too much, the dumplings will become hard during cooking, so knead the dough just the necessary.

How to shape the gnocchi

First, start by dusting the worktop with a pinch of flour.

how to shape gnocchi

Cut a piece of dough and spread it with the tips of your fingers to obtain 2 cm thick strands. Help yourself by flouring the siding, from time to time. Avoid adding too much flour, in case the gnocchi are sticky, just dust your hands.

Then cut the strands/loaves small cylinders by lightly pressing with a dough cutter. If you don’t have the gnocchi row, you can use a fork to lightly shape the stripes. Also, use little flour to avoid the dumplings to stick. As you prepare the potato gnocchi, place them on a lightly floured tray, well-spaced from each other. Let them sit uncovered for about 15- 20 minutes. By letting them slightly dry out on the surface, the stripes will not lose their shapes upon cooking. 

How to boil the gnocchi 

Bring water to a boil in a large boiling pan. Add salt to taste. Pour the gnocchi in the salted boiling water. As soon as the gnocchi come to the surface you know they are cooked and ready to be drained and seasoned.

boiling gnocchi in boiling pan

How to serve Gnocchi with pesto?

When you’ve drained the gnocchi, add about 3 tablespoons of pesto sauce and gently mix as to not break the shape of the dumplings. I haven’t yet tried to make the homemade pesto, so I used one bought from the store. As soon as I find an easy and delicious pesto recipe I promise to share it with you with all the steps attached.

bowl with gnocchi with pesto

What is the best sauce for gnocchi?

Gnocchi are perfectly combined with creamy sauces such as creamy gorgonzola sauce as well as with oil-based sauces such as Pesto. 

Can I store the gnocchi?

The good part about this potatoes dough recipe is that you can cook it in advance and save it for whenever you are in the mood for a portion of nice Italian gnocchi. 

Simply put the potato dumplings in a food bag and put it in the freezer. To cook them, just throw them in boiling salted water. There is no need to defrost them first.

homemake gnocchi with pesto on fork

plate with homemade gnocchi with pesto sauce

Potato Gnocchi with Pesto Sauce

YourFoodBuddy
Follow this gnocchi recipe to find out all the secrets on how to prepare homemade gnocchi. This recipe will guide you to get the softest and most exquisite gnocchi ever.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 people
Calories 108 kcal

Equipment

  • Potato Ricer
  • boiling pan

Ingredients
  

Gnocchi Dough

  • 1 kg yellow potatoes
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tsp salt

Gnocchi with pesto

  • 6 tbsp pesto sauce

Instructions
 

  • Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with plenty of cold water. Let boil for 30 minutes or until soft
  • Peel potatoes and crush them using a potato ricer
  • Add a cup of flour, a pinch of salt and crack one egg over the mashed potatoes
  • Work everything with your hands until the dough is ready
  • Cut a piece of dough and spread it with the tips of your fingers to obtain 2 cm thick strands
  • Section the strands in small cylinders by lightly pressing with a dough cutter
  • Use a fork to lightly shape the stripes. Also, use little flour to avoid the dumplings to stick
  • Place gnocchi on a lightly floured tray, well-spaced from each other
  • Bring water to a boil in a large boiling pan. Add salt to taste. Pour the gnocchi in the salted boiling water.
  • As soon as the gnocchi come to the surface you know they are cooked and ready to be drained and seasoned
  • Add about 3 tablespoons of pesto sauce and gently mix as to not break the shape of the dumplings

Nutrition

Calories: 108kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 3gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 540mgPotassium: 23mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 347IUCalcium: 29mgIron: 1mg
Keyword dumplings, gnocchi, gnocchi recipe, italian recipe, pesto sauce
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