Easy Recipes Using Gnocchi, a Classic Italian Pasta

Gnocchi is a type of classic Italian pasta that resembles dumplings and has a light, airy texture. Delallo notes that gnocchi has an unknown origin, but is believed to have come from the Italian word nocca, meaning knuckle. Gnocchi is often created using a mixture of flour, egg, and potato, but it certainly isn’t limited to just those ingredients. It can also be made with a wide array of other foods, including breadcrumbs, squash, spinach, and cheese. Whether you’re hoping to prepare your own gnocchi for supper or would like to use a store-bought version to create a quick and delicious dinner, we’ve compiled 6 recipes that showcase gnocchi’s great flavors and versatility.

1. Potato Gnocchi

potato gnocchi

Potato gnocchi | Source: iStock

Fine Cooking’s recipe shows you how to prepare a basic potato gnocchi, which has a plump, pillowy texture and a mild, pleasant flavor. Once you’ve boiled your potatoes and reduced them to a purée, combine the remaining ingredients, knead the dough, form it into a long rope, and cut it into small squares. Consider serving your gnocchi with Allrecipes.com’s sage-butter sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 medium), scrubbed
  • 6¾ ounces (1½ cups) unbleached all-purpose flour, more for kneading and rolling
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Directions: Put the unpeeled potatoes in a large pot. Fill the pot with enough cold water to cover the potatoes by at least 2 inches and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, partially cover the pot, and simmer the potatoes until they are completely tender and easily pierced with a skewer, 30 to 35 minutes. Drain the potatoes, let them cool just enough that you can handle them, and then peel them. Cut them in half crosswise and pass them through a ricer into a large bowl. Let cool until almost at room temperature, at least 20 minutes. Lightly flour a work surface. In a small bowl, mix the flour with the salt. Add the egg to the potatoes and then add the flour mixture. Mix with your hands until the flour is moistened and the dough starts to clump together; the dough will still be a bit crumbly at this point.

Gather the dough together and press it against the bottom of the bowl until you have a uniform mass. Transfer it to the floured surface and wash your hands. Knead gently until the flour is fully incorporated and the dough is soft, smooth, and a little sticky, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Move the dough to one side, making sure the surface underneath it is well floured. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Cover two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment and sprinkle lightly with flour. Remove any lingering bits of dough from your work surface and lightly reflour the surface. Tear off a piece of dough about the size of a large lemon and put the towel back on the rest of the dough so it doesn’t dry out.

With the palms of both hands, roll the dough piece on the floured surface into a rope about ¾ inch in diameter. With a sharp knife or a bench knife, cut the rope crosswise every ¾ inch to make roughly ¾-inch-square gnocchi. Arrange the gnocchi in a single layer on the parchment-covered baking sheets, making sure they don’t touch. Repeat until you run out of dough, reflouring the work surface as needed. When all the gnocchi have been cut and spread out on the baking sheets, sprinkle them with a little more flour. If you’re going to use the gnocchi within 2 to 3 hours, they can sit out on the counter until you’re ready to serve.

2. Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi with Quick Tomato Sauce

Spinach and ricotta gnocchi

Spinach and ricotta gnocchi | Source: iStock

No potatoes are needed for Food Network’s spinach and ricotta gnocchi with quick tomato sauce. Instead, this recipe, which yields 6 to 8 servings, uses cheese, spinach, and nutmeg to create an irresistible gnocchi dinner dish.

Ingredients:

Gnocchi

  • 2 pounds fresh ricotta cheese, wrapped in cheesecloth and hung overnight in refrigerator
  • 1 (9-ounce) box frozen spinach, defrosted and water squeezed out
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 to 3 grates fresh nutmeg
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ to ½ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for the outside of the gnocchi
  • Semolina, for holding the gnocchi

Sauce

  • 12 to 15 super-ripe plum tomatoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • Kosher salt
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 6 to 7 basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish

Directions: Unwrap the ricotta cheese from the cheesecloth; the texture should be pretty dry and crumbly. If it is really dry, pass it through the food mill with the biggest holes. Put the cheese into a large bowl. Finely chop the squeezed spinach and add it to the ricotta. Add the eggs, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and nutmeg. Mix until well combined. Taste and season with salt, if needed. Add in ¼ cup of flour. If the mixture is still very wet, add in the remaining ¼ cup of flour. Dust a sheet tray generously with flour. Coat another sheet tray generously with semolina flour. Fill a pastry bag with the ricotta/spinach mixture. Pipe 1 ½-inch balls of the cheese mixture onto the all-purpose flour lined tray. Shake the tray around to coat the balls in flour. Roll each flour coated cheese piece around in your hand to form a ball. Do this gently so as to not squish the cheese balls. Arrange them on the semolina lined tray.

To make the sauce, bring a saucepan full of water to a boil over medium heat. Set up a bowl of ice water. In the bottom of each tomato, cut an “X” in the skin. Working in batches, put the tomatoes in the boiling water for 15 to 20 seconds only. Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and put them immediately into the ice water. When the tomatoes have cooled, remove them from the ice water and the skin should come off very easily. Remove the stems and seeds from the tomatoes; coarsely chop the tomatoes and reserve. Coat a large straight-sided sauté pan, over medium-high heat, with olive oil. Add the onions, season with salt, to taste. Toss in the crushed red pepper and cook the onions until they are soft and aromatic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and season with salt, to taste.

Bring the tomato mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Toss in the basil just before serving. To assemble, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat until the water is at a simmer. Carefully add the gnocchi to the simmering water. Cook until the gnocchi float and have begun to swell, 3 to 5 minutes. On individual serving plates, spoon some sauce on each plate and spread it out until it becomes a 4- to 5-inch circle. Using a spider or long handled mesh strainer, carefully remove the gnocchi from the cooking water, blot on a tea towel and arrange 5 gnocchi on each circle of sauce. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.

3. Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter

butternut squash gnocchi

Butternut squash gnocchi | Source: iStock

Sweeten your supper table with Bon Appétit’s butternut squash gnocchi with sage butter. It takes some time to prepare this recipe, which yields 6 servings, so consider making it in advance; the dough can be made 6 hours ahead, while the cooked gnocchi can be prepared 8 hours prior to serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (1-pound) butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (12- to 14-ounce) russet potato, peeled, quartered
  • ¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • Additional grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut squash lengthwise in half; discard seeds. Place squash halves, cut side up, on baking sheet and brush with oil. Roast until squash is very tender when pierced with skewer and browned in spots, about 1½ hours. Cool slightly. Scoop flesh from squash into processor; purée until smooth. Transfer to medium saucepan; stir constantly over medium heat until juices evaporate and purée thickens, about 5 minutes. Cool. Measure 1 cup squash purée. Meanwhile, cook potato in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. While potato is warm, press through potato ricer into medium bowl; cool completely. Measure 2 cups riced potato.

Mix squash, potato, ½ cup Parmesan, egg, nutmeg, and salt in large bowl. Gradually add 1¾ cups flour, kneading gently into mixture in bowl until dough holds together and is almost smooth. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls. Turn dough out onto floured surface; knead gently but briefly just until smooth. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Sprinkle parchment lightly with flour. Working with 1 dough piece at a time, roll dough out on floured surface to about ½-inch-thick rope. Cut rope crosswise into ¾-inch pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll gnocchi along back of fork tines dipped in flour, making ridges on 1 side.

Transfer gnocchi to baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour. Working in 2 batches, cook gnocchi in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, 15 to 17 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to same parchment-lined baking sheets. Cool. Cook butter over medium heat just until golden, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Add sage; stir 1 minute. Add gnocchi; cook until heated through and coated with butter, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with ¼ cup Parmesan. Serve with additional Parmesan.

4. Hazelnut Gnocchi with Sage Glaze

making gnocchi

Making gnocchi | Source: iStock

Hazelnut meal and potatoes combine to create a rich-tasting gnocchi that pairs well with roasted chicken or pork. Cooking Light’s recipe yields 8 servings. We suggest serving it with Martha Stewart’s sautéed spinach with garlic.

Ingredients:

Gnocchi:
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4½ ounces), divided
  • ½ cup hazelnut meal
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 gallon water
Glaze:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions: To prepare gnocchi, combine ¼ cup water and potatoes in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave at high 10 minutes or until tender. Drain potatoes; mash potatoes with a potato masher. Cool 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine potatoes, ¾ cup flour, hazelnut meal, and next 3 ingredients; mix well. Knead until smooth, about 2 minutes; add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a 12-inch-long rope. Cut each rope into 20 pieces; roll each piece into a ball.

Working with one dough piece at a time, using your thumb, roll dough piece down the tines of a lightly floured fork. Place gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet. Bring 1 gallon water to a boil in a large stockpot. To prepare glaze, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 minced garlic clove to pan; cook 30 seconds. Add broth; bring to a boil. Stir in sage, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper. Remove from heat. Add half of gnocchi to boiling water; cook 3 minutes or until done. Remove cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon; place in a colander. Repeat procedure with remaining uncooked gnocchi. Serve drizzled with warm glaze.

5. Gnocchi with White Beans

cooking onions

Cooking onions |Source: iStock

Store-bought gnocchi makes Taste of Home’s recipe, which yields 6 servings, perfect for hectic weeknights. You can easily appease any meat lover’s appetite by adding a touch of Italian chicken sausage to your gnocchi with white beans.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (16-ounce) package potato gnocchi
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14½-ounce) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add gnocchi; cook and stir 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Stir in beans, tomatoes, spinach, and pepper; heat through. Sprinkle with cheeses; cover and remove from heat. Let stand 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese is melted.

6. Gnocchi Skillet with Chicken Sausage and Tomatoes

cooking gnocchi

Cooking gnocchi | Source: iStock

Five ingredients and 20 minutes are all you need to prepare The Kitchn’s gnocchi skillet with chicken sausage and tomatoes. Any chicken sausage will work well in this dish, but if you’d like to add a touch more flavor to this recipe, look for one that includes red peppers or garlic. It yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound gnocchi
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 9 ounces (about 3 links) cooked chicken sausage, sliced into ¼-inch-thick coins
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 to 2 ounces fresh basil, julienned (½ to 1 cup loosely packed)

Directions: Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling; cook the gnocchi for 2 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil. Heat a 10-inch or larger cast iron skillet over medium heat with a light drizzle of olive oil. Add the sausage and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it begins to brown. Push the sausage into a pile at the edge of the skillet and turn the heat up to high.

When the skillet is quite hot, add the tomatoes, skin down, crowding them in if necessary. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until they are blistered, then stir in with the sausage. Cook for 2 more minutes, until both tomatoes and sausage are slightly browned. Stir in gnocchi and cook just until all is combined, but the tomatoes have not broken down into sauce. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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