(it's pronounced ˈɲɔkki)

When it comes to fresh pasta I have no doubt that the one you make at home is way better than anything you can buy in a store. And despite what most people think, it’s quite an easy thing to do. This is the first of a series of recipes about fresh pasta and we will start with GNOCCHI (potato gnocchi to be precise) which by the way is pronounced [ˈɲɔkki] (here’s a You Tube clip, just in case). Gnocchi are easy to make for a simple “chemical” reason: to make the dough, the flour is not mixed with water, therefore gluten doesn’t form. Now gluten is what makes any flour+water dough become elastic and hard to handle when you knead it, so with gnocchi everything is a lot simpler.

Potato gnocchi are essentially made with potatoes and wheat flour, but this is only the start – one can experiment with all kinds of flours and other ingredients, add eggs or some veggies to do a “colored” version (spinach seems to be very popular). I prefere the simple potatoes+flour version better because I like to feel the potato taste. If for example you would use eggs also, you will have to add a lot more flour to reach a good consistency, and the potato taste would be lost. Sad.

You can really use all kinds of potatoes: yellow, white, firm, floury etc. And the amount of flour needed may vary a lot for a number of reasons: type of potatoes used, for how long they are boiled, even how old they are! So you can see that the recipe is not much of a precise one really, but still it’s very easy and fun to do.

For this particular recipe I’m doing the gnocchi in my favourite way. They’re called Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, as they originate from the beautiful town of Sorrento in Italy, about 45 minutes from my hometown (you’re welcome to visit!).

Special Equipment

  • potato press
  • oven-proof bowls
Created with Sketch. 35 min Created with Sketch. 2 servings


  • 350 gpotatoes
  • 150 gall purpose flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • for the sauce
  • 1 tbsof oliveoil
  • 1 cloveof garlic
  • 300 gtomato puree (passata)
  • 80 ggrated Parmigiano cheese
  • 125 gof mozzarella



  1. Boil the potatoes, skin and all, until they’re fully cooked.
  2. Use the dedicated potato press to smash the boiled potatoes in a big bowl.
  3. Add the flour and a pinch of salt and mix everything together until the dough looks nice and smooth. You can add a bit more flour if you think the dough is not firm enough. The smashed potatoes are able to incorporate a lot of flour, but we don’t want the dough to be neither too loose, nor to firm. I guess it’s both a matter of how you prefere your gnocchi to be, and also of practice; with time you will be able to “feel” when the consistency is correct.
  4. Cut a small piece of dough and roll it down by hand to a ‘worm’ shape about 1,5 cm wide. With a knife cut the ‘worm’ into 1,5 cm pieces and using two fingers (and some extra flour as the dough will still be a bit sticky) press on the little ‘plug’ while at the same time you roll it back towards you. This will give the gnocco (singular for gnocchi, of course) a bit of a cavity where the sauce will sit nicely. Repeat this operation until you run out of dough. While you roll your gnocchi, arrange them nicely on a large flat surface and sprinkle a little flour over them. (I should mention that this is only one of the possible ways to roll gnocchi, but it’s my favourite). Actually, you know what? To make things easier I made a short explanatory how-to video!
  5. Start your oven grill at this point, you’ll need it later. Also put a big pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil.
  6. Now for the sauce, it’s really quite simple: add olive oil and a clove of garlic to a sauce pan on medium until the garlic is golden/brown. Add the tomato sauce and salt and pepper to taste, and cook it for 10 minutes on  medium/low.
  7. Cook the gnocchi in salted boiling water just as if you were cooking pasta (in case you’re not very sure, here‘s our how-to article). But gnocchi cook very quickly! When the water is boiling,  add the gnocchi, put the lid back on the pot and in one or two minutes the water will start boiling again and the gnocchi will come up to the surface: ready! You just have to drain the water and put the gnocchi back in the pot.
  8. Now quickly pour 3/4 of the tomato sauce over the gnocchi, add the parmigiano and half of the mozzarella and gently mix everything.
  9. Put the gnocchi in oven-proof bowls, scoop the remaining sauce on top of them,  add the rest of the mozzarella and throw everything under the oven grill for 5/10 minutes or untill the mozzarella starts to become a bit brown

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