how to make mama mia style homemade gnocchi

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To be honest, friends, I have had “Make Homemade Gnocchi” on my to-try list for a couple of years. But I haven’t tried it. Because, well, they intimidate the heck out of me. But my man (and my kiddos, incidentally) love yummy italian food, so I finally took the plunge and made a big ol’ batch of pillowy, potato goodness. We ate some of it and froze the rest. And oh my goodness. Seriously goodness. Paired with a little jar of homemade pesto, this would make a seriously yummy Guy Gift!

A word of caution- you should know before you start that this is not a low maintenance endeavor. It’s messy. And these little gems are finicky. Oh, and there is a fair amount of hot potato handling involved.

But it’s worth it. So worth it.

I used the “How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandma” directions at 101 cookbooks. What a fantastic resource!

*This recipe makes four batches of gnocchi for gifting. Or three gift batches and dinner. 🙂
4 pounds of russet potatoes
1/2 cups beaten eggs
2 cups flour, separated


Cut the potatoes in half and boil in salted water for 40-50 minutes (I did 40).

Take out one half of a potato at a time and peel with a paring knife. They’re HOT- get your ninja fingers ready. Continue one potato at a time until they’re all peeled.

Shred the still-hot potatoes with a potato ricer (if you don’t have a potato ricer, you can shred them with a fork… but don’t mash them).

Spread out on a cookie sheet and let cool for 15 minutes or so.

Beat the egg. Drizzle half of a cup of the egg and sprinkle a cup and a half of the flour on the riced potatoes.

Use a pastry cutter to cut in egg and flour.

Using a metal spatula, scrape underneath and fold, scrape underneath and fold until the mixture is a crumble.

Knead dough with more flour (lightly, 101 cookbooks said “gently, with a feather touch.” I don’t know exactly what that means… but you should know that she says that). I ended up using the other half a cup of flour here.

Cut your flattened dough mound into sixteen equal-ish shares- in half lengthwise, in half widthwise and then everything in half again so you have sixteen parts.

Pick up one of the dough pieces with floured hands and role out like a snake until it’s about the diameter of your thumb.

Sprinkle more flour on your snake-dough-piece. Then cut every 3/4″ or so until you have a whole line of little potato pillows.

Press each potato pillow onto the top of a fork. If your gnocchi is too sticky to handle, add a little flour.

Your gnocchi is ready to cook or freeze! To freeze, line up your gnocchi pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and put in the freezer.

Also, here are the cooking directions (in case you’re going the three-batches-and-dinner route)- Place about twenty gnocchi pieces in a pot of salted, boiling water. They pop back up when they’re done. Fish them out with a slotted spoon and serve on a platter with a swirl of pesto (or your favorite sauce).

Wrap up and give away! I made up little printable tags for the gnocchi (you can download them here). There’s also a pesto label and cooking directions, you know, just to be thorough.

Any Yummy Italian Food lovers in your house?
Have any of you made gnocchi before? Any tips for us novices?

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  1. That looks SO GOOD! Although, I may have to pass the recipe on to someone a little more "kitchen savvy" and bribe them to make it for me. I can bake like the dickens, but when it comes to cooking….. I am FAR from an Italian Grandma.

  2. Umm gnocchi! Okay promise not to hate me… I have a gnocchi maker. yep an authentic 1940/1950 complete with italian writing gnocchi maker. you make the "dough" just like you do and then take clumps and run it through by turning the handle. freeze or cook.

    Now I think I need to go buy more potatoes so I can make up a batch of gnocchi to eat and freeze.

    thank you for the recipe (mine got lost this last move…)

    Have a great week!!

  3. This is a great post, and beautiful and yummy pictures! My husband is a HUGE gnocchi fan, and coming from an Italian family, I've always been intimidated to make it. I've done it a few times, using a recipe similar to yours and its perfect. BUT, I've also cheated with potato buds!!! And the best part – my mother in law LOVED them (I didnt tell her my secret!!) Its a great cheat when you dont have time for the real thing! Here's my recipe: 1 cup dry potato flakes
    1 cup boiling water
    1 egg, beaten
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


    Place potato flakes in a medium-size bowl. Pour in boiling water; stir until blended. Let cool.
    Stir in egg, salt, and pepper. Blend in enough flour to make a fairly stiff dough. Turn dough out on a well floured board. Knead lightly.
    Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a long thin roll, the thickness of a breadstick. With a knife dipped in flour, cut into bite-size pieces.
    Place a few gnocchi in boiling water. As the gnocchi rise to the top of the pot, remove them with a slotted spoon. Repeat until all are cooked.

    Thanks for the great post! I think I'll go make some gnocchi now!

  4. That looks delicious! Any reason you couldn’t peel the potatoes before cooking and save your ninja fingers some pain?

    1. Bev, I think that’s a good idea. I read that letting the potatoes soak in too much water wouldn’t work for the gnocchi. If you try it and it works that way, though, would you let me know? That way I can pass along the tip…

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