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Gluten free gnocchi

November 19, 2010

I first made gnocchi many, many moons ago when I was a student at university. I had very strict instructions from a friend who was very particular about it. I didn’t know the difference between good gnocchi and bad gnocchi then, but it turns out his method was very good indeed. Fast forward a couple of decades and I tried my hand at making it again – in an effort to convince Andrew that gnocchi can be really delicious. He loves mashed potatoes so I found it hard to believe that he could be so anti-gnocchi. Needless to say, he is now a total convert. Our favourite way to eat it is with burnt butter sage (which my kids adore). This time we had it with some portuguese style barbecued chicken.

My tips for making the perfect gnocchi:

  1. Avoid allowing your potatoes to soak up any moisture – ideally you should bake them. If you cook them in a pot with water, drain the water out when they are cooked and allow the pan with the potatoes to stay on low heat for a few minutes in an attempt to dry them out.
  2. Leave the skin on while cooking the potatoes – this stops them from soaking up liquid.
  3. Not all potatoes are equal when it comes to gnocchi – dry is better than waxy. Potatoes with good flavour = gnocchi with flavour.
  4. Use potato flour rather than wheat flour – this not only makes them gluten-free, but retains a good potato taste and avoids the extra gluggy wheat effect, etc. You end up with a much lighter gnocchi than one made with wheat flour. Cook a lump of dough in some boiling water and see what a big lump of stodgy glug you end up with – this is what we don’t want in our gnocchi!
  5. Use a light hand and don’t work the ‘dough’ too much – you don’t want to work the starches. Just barely mix together lightly, roll out and cut with the minimum amount of handling you can manage.
  6. Cook for just a minute or two (don’t overcook).
  7. Good gnocchi is light, fluffy and almost melts in your mouth… my opinion anyway!

Gnocchi with burnt butter sage

(Serves 4. Quantities are approximate as they will vary according to the moisture content of your potatoes)

6 large potatoes
2 eggs
1/2 to 1 cup potato flour
salt to taste

150gm butter
1 bunch of sage – separate the leaves

Cook your potatoes by baking if you have time, or in boiling water as per the tips above. (I have sometimes cooked them in the microwave but I am not a fan of it.)
While still warm, peel and lightly mash. Ideally use a ricer if you have one. If not, use a fork and mash lightly. Don’t worry about getting it too smooth and lump-free. A few lumps are better than starchy potatoes and tough gnocchi. Add the eggs to the bowl and enough potato flour (adding a little at a time) until it comes together like a soft ball of “dough”. Lightly dust your bench with potato  flour. Take fist sized balls and roll into logs. Again, use a really light hand and try not to work the dough too much. Cut into bite sized pieces and set aside. You can roll these on the back of a fork to get that classic gnocchi look but most of the time I don’t bother.

Bring a big pot of water to a rolling boil. Add salt. Add the gnocchi a few at a time. As soon as they float to the surface they are ready. Scoop out and keep in a warm bowl.

To make the burnt butter sage melt the butter in a small saucepan. Allow it to foam up and watch it carefully. When the foam starts to subside, add the sage leaves. Stir occasionally. When the sage leaves get crispy the butter should also have lovely burnt brown bits floating in it. Pour over the warm gnocchi and serve immediately.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. November 19, 2010 9:52 AM

    This sounds great, definitely going to try it!

    My girlfriend and I are longtime fans of gnocchi, but up until now have been living with the restaurant and boxed varieties. For some reason, it never occurred to me to try making my own..

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      November 23, 2010 3:02 PM

      You are never going to go back to those boxed varieties once you try this. Think of all that money you will save…and how much more delicious they will be! Very easy to make so I definitely recommend giving it a go.

  2. November 19, 2010 11:35 AM

    That gnocchi does look light and delicious! When it’s good it’s so good, but when it’s stodgy… I remember my sister making it once as a teenager. Balls roughly the size of a tennis ball, she had gotten bored while cutting and rolling. Stodge.

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      November 23, 2010 3:01 PM

      I think that was pretty much Andrew’s experience with gnocchi before this too! But yeah, when it is good it is like eating a fluffy potato cloud….mm….

  3. November 19, 2010 12:58 PM

    Cool! What time do you want us over for dinner? 🙂

  4. November 19, 2010 3:01 PM

    What a clever idea to use potato flour. We love our gnocchi just with pesto. Yumm…

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      November 23, 2010 2:59 PM

      Ah I would like to claim cleverness, but it was just the way I was taught to make it. For a long time I thought people who made it with wheat flour were just lazy/cheap and making fake gnocchi. Turns out that I was the odd one all along instead!

  5. Sarah - For the Love of Food permalink
    November 19, 2010 10:07 PM

    I love gnocchi but have only tried making it once and it was a disaster – turned all grey! My Mum makes a melt in your mouth gnocchi and a friend of mine makes a lovely version with ricotta. The gnocchi in your photo looks really really good!

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      November 23, 2010 2:58 PM

      Oh dear, grey is not a good colour for gnocchi! These are so easy to make and absolutely delicious. Just follow those few tips I outlined and all will be well. I have never made any with pumpkin, or ricotta…or all those other varieties I see in the shops. Must try that one day…but it is hard to move away from something that works and that we love!

  6. November 20, 2010 7:22 AM

    I don’t think I have ever tried making these. And I don’t think I have ever had any that look as good as the ones in that picture. Mmmm…..

  7. Jeremy permalink
    March 20, 2013 1:57 PM

    Do you think you could use potato starch instead of potato flour? If so how much starch would I use instead of flour??

  8. Lizi permalink
    May 2, 2013 12:04 AM

    This is a fantastic recipe – made it last night to rave reviews. Light and fluffy and tasty! Thanks.

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