I tried my hand at gnocchi for the first time this week. I also decided to make a simple marinara sauce to go with them, and the results where pretty good for a first attempt. I can’t say that I’ve ever had gnocchi before – perhaps in some frozen form from a grocery store, but I suspect it’s one of those foods that people always assume is difficult to make but actually isn’t. The ingredients are pretty straightforward: potatoes and flour.
The marinara and potatoes will both take about 40-45 minutes to cook; start working on both so that they finish around the same time. In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil to medium. Add in garlic and onions and cook about 5 minutes or until tender. Combine remaining ingredients for the marinara and simmer uncovered for 4o minutes.
Simultaneously, bring a large pot to boil, add in 2 lbs. of potatoes, and cook for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a toothpick. Make sure they’re fully cooked through. One of my potatoes was still lightly hard in the middle after boiling. I think it caused some lumps to remain in the dough. Other than appearance, I don’t think this ultimately had any effect on the flavor or texture of the gnocchi.
Remove potatoes from water and allow to drain. Use your fingers to peel skins while they’re still hot. Process potatoes through a potato ricer. I don’t own one of these so I used a box grater instead. Add flour to a fine metal strainer and evenly sift flour onto potatoes. Thoroughly incorporate both using a scraper/chopper then use hands to knead the mixture into a dough. Form into a large loaf, cover with a towel, and let rest for about 10 minutes.
The marinara should be done cooking at this point. Let it cool slightly before puréeing in a blender. Pour back into pot and set aside for later use. I kept mine simmering on the stove until I was ready to use it.
On a floured surface, slice a piece from the loaf and roll to a thickness of 1″. I rolled mine out slightly thicker than my thumb. Use the scraper/chopper or a knife to cut these into .8″ pieces. Repeat this process until all of the dough has been used.
Use a floured gnocchi board or fork to give the gnocchi texture. Use your thumb to press each one along the ridges of the board or tine of the fork. It took me a few attempts but I quickly got the hang of it. This process isn’t necessary but it does look nice and is supposed to hold the sauce better.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Drop the gnocchi into the water and cook until they float to the surface. I cooked mine in several batches. This recipe could also be halved if you’re not planning on feeding several people. Alternatively, freeze the uncooked gnocchi on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet for later use. Cook the frozen gnocchi as mentioned above.
That’s all it takes and they are now ready to eat! Serve with the marinara sauce as well as salt and pepper, if desired.
- 2lbs. russet potatoes
- 2-1/4 cups flour
- Salt (optional)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2-14 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Pepper, to taste
- 1. Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add potatoes and boil for 40 minutes. Potatoes are ready when they're easily pierced with a toothpick.
- 2. Begin making the marinara once the potatoes begin to boil. On a separate element, add olive oil to another pot and bring to a medium heat. Add in onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or until both have softened.
- 3. Stir in remaining ingredients and let simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.
- 4. Drain and peel potatoes while they're still hot. Put potatoes through a ricer or use a box grater.
- 5. Use a fine mesh strainer to evenly distribute flour onto potatoes. Incorporate flour into potatoes using a scraper/chopper then use hands to knead into a dough.
- 6. Form into a loaf, cover with a towel, and let rest 10 minutes.
- 7. Remove marinara from heat and let cool before puréeing in a blender.
- 8. Slice a piece from the dough and roll out on a floured surface. Roll to a thickness of about 1". Use scrapper/chopper or knife and cut into .8" pieces. Repeat until all the dough is used up.
- 9. Use the gnocchi board or fork to create indentations on the gnocchi. With a little flour on the board or fork, use thumb to roll gnocchi along the surface.
- 10. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop gnocchi into water and cook until they begin to float to the surface. Remove, drain, and serve with marinara sauce.
- *Freeze uncooked gnocchi on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Throw into a bag once frozen. Cook as normal.