Who wants foolproof gnocchi? These easy tips will have you confidently strutting your soft potatoey pillows all over the place.
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24 Apr 2017 - 11:18 PM  UPDATED 13 Dec 2017 - 8:38 PM

Well made gnocchi is a beautiful thing. It should be light and delicate, so we went digging for insider information about how to maximise that potato potential.

1. Choose your tater wisely

• Choose a floury or all-purpose potato type such as red desiree or sebago, for example.

• Chef Michele Usci recommends using an older potato over fresh ones for an even better gnocchi consistency. 

2. Skin on

• Cook your potato with the skin on.

• Bologna-born chef Mirko Grillini advises to boil them up without breaking the skin to ensure not too much water penetrates into the potato itself. If there is too much water in the potato then it requires more flour and the gnocchi will be tough. 

3. Don't overcook

The Seasonal Cook, O Tama Carey tells us to have the right type of potatoes cooked properly. Try to keep your potatoes at the same size to ensure a more consistent and even cooking time and do not over cook.

"Not cooked long enough and you’ll get a strange slightly textured product, too long and you’ll end up with a gluey mess." The Seasonal Cook

3. Firm, yet gentle

• Poh Ling Yeow squeezes her gnocchi dough instead of kneading it.

• When rolling and cutting the gnocchi, The Seasonal Cook says, "remember to show no fear and treat your potatoes with a firm, yet gentle, hand".

4. Flour with care

• Strain your hot potatoes and mash them until nice and fluffy. You can use a fork to mash and push through a sieve or a potato ricer, if you have one, for a quicker mash. Once your potatoes have dropped to a warm temperature add all the other ingredients and mix quickly. 

The Seasonal Cook's main trick when making gnocchi is to work swiftly, gently and be prepared to judge the right amount of flour and not over do it, otherwise you'll be left with a more floury then potato-y gnocchi.

5. Rise to the occasion

• taste it! Always cook a couple of gnocchi first to make sure the timing and texture is right, especially if you are making a big batch. Michele Usci cooks a couple in boiling water, pops them in ice cold water, then tastes. 

Chef Riccardo Messora cooks the gnocchi in boiling water with a sprinkle of salt and a dash of olive oil. As soon as your gnocchi hits the surface, toss them straight into a hot ragu sauce and serve.

• Gnocchi doesn't take long to cook and use a slotted spoon to remove it once they have reached the surface.

6. Grooving for sauce

• Grooving your gnocchi sides with a fork gives its characteristic texture and is the way to go if you are serving it with sauce or ragu as it allows the grooves hold on the sauce more easily.

Let's eat!

Now that you have the tricks, get in the mix and check out our gnocchi collection here.

Brand-new series Food Safari Earth airs Thursdays at 8pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand. For recipes and more visit the program site right here. #FoodSafari

Make your own
Jap pumpkin gnocchi with marsala, capers and sage

I’m very partial to well-made gnocchi, and this one is a great example as it’s still light and fluffy, but the pumpkin gives it a savoury, earthy flavour. The main trick when making gnocchi is to work swiftly, gently, and be prepared to judge the right amount of flour.

Gnocchi with fresh tomato and basil sauce

"This is the most brilliant tomato sauce – its versatility is limitless. Pour over pasta, braise vegies in it, use as a pizza base or between layers of a vegie lasagna or here, with gnocchi. It needs nothing else, intense with fragrant garlic and the intensity of perfectly vine-ripened tomatoes. As for the gnocchi, there seems to be common perception that it’s difficult to make. So long as you stick to a couple of hard and fast rules – to not overcook and water log the potatoes and to squeeze instead of knead the gnocchi dough, I promise all will be well." Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co.

Red Desiree gnocchi with spicy chicken heart and tomato ragù

There's a special place in my heart for gnocchi – done properly, it is a thing of great beauty. I prefer mine to be light pillows of goodness with enough structure so they hold nicely. Like most things in life, once you get the hang of it, gnocchi is relatively quick and simple to make. The trick is to have the right type of potatoes cooked properly – not long enough and you’ll get a strange slightly textured product, too long and you’ll end up with a gluey mess. This is a sauce that is a regular at Berta – almost like a bolognese, it is subtle, yet spicy and comforting. As for the gnocchi, when making them, remember to show no fear and treat your potatoes with a firm, yet gentle, hand.

Baked gorgonzola gnocchi