Using ricotta instead of mashed potatoes, you can make gnocchi from scratch in just 30 minutes. The gnocchi is light and fluffy, like mini pillows of ricotta goodness. Toss them in a simple browned butter sauce or a tomato sauce – you choose!
Do you watch cooking competition shows like MasterChef? My poison is My Kitchen Rules. It’s an Australian cooking show where teams of two compete (couples or close friends), starting with a dinner for a group of other contestants + the judges in their own home.
It’s addictive. I sit in front of the TV and drop my head in my hands whenever I see a contestant trying out a new technique in a Sudden Death Round. “WHY?!!” I screech out loud. “WHY would you experiment with a ridiculous new technique in a Sudden Death Round?? Are you MAD? You deserve to be booted out of the show!!”
And I shook my head in bewilderment when I saw another team pour the braising liquid from a slow cooked curry down the drain. “What are you DOING!!!” I yelled at the TV. “You just threw out all your FLAVOUR!!”
It’s bad for my health, I swear. I get really worked up.
Having said that though, there are moments when I pick up really cool ideas. Like this. Homemade gnocchi. From scratch. In 30 minutes, start to finish. With no special equipment required and very little mess!
I’ve made potato gnocchi in the past with varying degrees of success. When you get it right, it is heavenly. Soft, and fluffy, they literally melt in your mouth. Oooh, I’m going weak in the knees just thinking about it.
But then…you have potato gnocchi gone wrong. You take your first bite in anticipation….only to sink your teeth into rubber. Ew.
If you come to my place for dinner and I offer to make you gnocchi, make sure it’s ricotta gnocchi. 100% hit rate. Potato gnocchi is around 75%. 😉
Whenever I share a “new” recipe on my blog (i.e. one that is not a tried and tested favorite), I make it at least 3 times before sharing it. Just to learn the ins and outs, where the “risk” areas are so I can provide plenty of tips. So far I’ve made these 5 times and they have worked out perfectly every time.
It really is easy. The dough takes about 1 minute to mix in a bowl (no kneading), then you turn it out onto a cutting board, pat into a disc, cut into 8 pieces, roll into logs then cut into gnocchi.
It is very appealing to me that this makes such little mess! Just one bowl and one cutting board. No scraping dough off work surfaces!
My mum was the official taste tester and she highly approves. She’s pretty….erm….honest with her opinions so she’s a good person to test out new recipes on. However, we can’t agree whether this is better with a classic tomato sauce or browned butter. My mother thinks that browned butter lets the flavour of the gnocchi shine through. I don’t disagree, but I like my pastas nice and saucy, and there is only so much browned butter one can consume (at least, in a single sitting!).
So instead of trying to choose, I’ve provided two sauces. 🙂
During the 5 times I made these, I also discovered that they freeze really well (uncooked) and you need to eat them quickly because they start firming up after around 15 minutes as they cool down. Not that that’s ever going to be a problem with me!
– Nagi x
- 8 oz / 250g ricotta - ordinary supermarket ricotta, not expensive fresh Italian ricotta (Note 1)
- ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (Note 2)
- ¾ to 1 cup plain flour, plus more for dusting (Note 3)
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
- ¼ tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ tsp salt (or omit if using salted butter)
- Black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ brown onion, finely diced
- 28 oz / 800 g canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp mixed dried Italian herbs (or any combination of dried parsley, basil, oregano and thyme)
- 1 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- Freshly grated parmesan
- Fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)
- Combine the gnocchi ingredients in a bowl except the flour.
- Use a rubber spatula to mix until the egg is partially mixed into the ricotta. Then add ¾ cup of flour and mix until just combined so it is a sticky very soft dough, but not like batter. Use the remaining flour, 1 tbsp at a time to get the dough consistency right. I find ¾ cup is enough. (Note 3)
- Turn it out on a work surface lightly dusted with flour, sprinkle a tiny bit of flour on top then pat it down to a disc about 1"/2.5cm thick. Cut it into 8 pieces.
- Roll a piece into a log about 3/5" / 1.5 cm in diameter and about 10"/25cm long. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Line 4 logs up, then cut them into 3/5" / 1.5cm pieces. Repeat with remaining 4 logs. (Note 4)
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Tumble the gnocchi in and cook for around 2½ minutes, or until the gnocchi is floating on the surface for around 30 seconds.
- Reserve 1 mug of cooking water. Then drain and add the gnocchi into the frypan with your sauce of choice (you only need one of them, not both). Follow the instructions below.
- Melt the butter in a large fry pan over medium high heat. Let it bubble until it turns brown. Add the salt and pepper. If the gnocchi isn't ready yet, remove from the stove until ready.
- Pour the cooked gnocchi into the fry pan along with ½ cup of the reserved cooking water. Gently stir, coating the gnocchi in the melted butter, cooking for 1 minute. This is the step when the butter and starch in the water emulsify so the sauce coats each piece of gnocchi.
- Do a taste test and add more salt if required. Serve immediately.
- Heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
- Add the garlic and onion. Sauce for 3 to 5 minutes until the onion is translucent.
- Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 10 minutes. Do a taste test and adjust saltiness to taste.
- Add the gnocchi and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water. Cook for 1 minute, stirring gently. The olive oil and starch in the water will emulsify to thicken the sauce so it clings to the gnocchi better.
- Serve immediately as the gnocchi will start to harden after about 15 minutes as it cools. You can reheat in the microwave to soften.
- Garnish with freshly grated parmesan and parsley, if desired.
Much easier and cheaper to use run-of-the-mill supermarket ricotta. Either over the counter from the deli or from the refrigerator section.
2. You really need to use freshly grated parmesan cheese for this because it is lighter and finer than store bought pre grated parmesan so it dissolves into the gnocchi better.
3. KEY TIP: The less flour you use, the lighter, softer and fluffier your gnocchi will be.
4. If making ahead to freeze, sprinkle very lightly with flour then place a single layer in a container. Place a layer of cling wrap or parchment paper (baking paper) on top, then top with another layer of gnocchi. Repeat until all gnocchi is in the container. Place airtight lid on then freeze until required.
To cook, place into boiling water from frozen, cooking for an extra 1 minute.
5. Recipe adapted from various sources, including Gourmet Traveller, Serious Eats, and SBS (Margaret Fulton recipe).
Nutrition assuming 3 servings with Browned Butter Sauce (left) and Tomato Sauce (right).