What to Have With GnocchiJune 7, 2023
When it comes to food, the Italians have given us plenty of classic favourites, like pizza, pasta and ice cream. But if you’re getting bored with your weekly pasta rotation of penne and spaghetti, try gnocchi. Distinctively different from other flour and egg pastas, gnocchi makes for a great mid-week meal or a starter at a dinner party. The options for what goes with gnocchi are endless – it’s an adaptable ingredient that’s great for traditional Italian sauces, with summer vegetables and for all manner of meats and seafood. All you need is some of these pillow-like dumplings and an exciting dinner is within your reach.
What Is Gnocchi?
What exactly is gnocchi? Gnocchi (pronounced nee-ok-ee) are petite Italian dumplings usually made with potato, semolina and flour. Taking its name from the Italian ‘nocchio’ meaning ‘knot in the wood’, gnocchi is an alternative to pasta that’s eaten across the country – but the recipe can vary from region to region. Believed to have been eaten since Roman times, gnocchi is often made by hand and then boiled or pan-fried. Because of their relatively plain-tasting ingredients, gnocchi are great carriers for other flavours, from sauces and roasted meats to other basic pantry ingredients. According to the best chefs, the secret to a great gnocchi recipe is the type of potato you use.
How To Make Gnocchi
Gnocchi is simple and easy to make. You only need two ingredients – potatoes and flour.
How to gnocchi in a pan:
- Place some waxy or floury skin-on potato – like Maris Piper or Desiree – into a pot of boiling, salted water. Allow to cook until fully softened, then drain.
- Use a potato ricer to mash the potato while hot. Then, sprinkle with flour to form a dough. It will be sticky but should still be firm.
- Roll the dough into individual logs, then cut small pieces of gnocchi from it – about a centimetre or two long.
How to gnocchi in the oven:
- Prick the potatoes carefully, then place them in an oven at 200 degrees Celsius and cook for an hour.
- When cooked, peel open the skin from the potatoes and remove the soft flesh.
- Mash the potato over flour to form a dough. You may need to use an egg yolk to bring the dough together if it’s particularly crumbly.
How Long To Cook Gnocchi?
As for how long to cook your gnocchi – it depends on your cooking method:
In a large pan of boiling, salted water, your gnocchi will take 3–4 minutes. The dumplings will rise to the top of the pan when they’re finished cooking.
Using a non-stick pan heated on high, add a tablespoon of butter and allow it to melt before tipping the gnocchi in and frying until golden brown on both sides.
How To Serve Gnocchi
There are lots of great ways to serve gnocchi, and here are some HelloFresh favourites:
- With cheese: Blue cheese and gorgonzola will give the gnocchi a boost of flavour that pairs well with the potato base.
- HelloFresh Recipe Development Manager, Mimi Morley, has a handy tip if you’re staying away from lactose: goat’s cheese is a great substitute that’s packed with flavour and will melt with the hot pasta. It’s also a great complement to green veggies, like spinach.
If you’re making a gnocchi side dish, these are some great options to add for a boost of flavour:
- Breadcrumbs: Use shop-bought or put stale bread in a food processor and blitz, then toast in a saucepan.
- Fresh herbs: Fresh basil, parsley, chives and thyme will bring out flavour without overwhelming.
- Caramelised onions: Cut thin strips of red or white onion and sauté in a pan with some olive oil, a tablespoon of brown sugar and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
What Sauce Goes with Gnocchi?
Many sauces go well with gnocchi, but be sure to pick one that complements the other ingredients you’re using.
The most popular include:
- Pesto: You can buy this shop-bought, but it’s also so easy to make. Just blend basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor.
- Cream sauce: Mix double cream with parmesan, salt and pepper and stir until thickened.
- Tomato sauce: Similar to an Italian marinara, crush fresh or canned tomatoes with garlic, fresh herbs, olive oil, then cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
What To Have With Gnocchi
On their own, these little dumplings don’t have a huge amount of flavour – so what do you eat with gnocchi? These are some top serving suggestions from Recipe Development Manager, Mimi Morley:
- Meatballs: The Italian way is with pork or beef, but you can use whichever meat you like.
- Fresh poultry: Chicken is a popular addition, as is pancetta and chorizo.
- Green vegetables: Asparagus, spinach, sweet peas, courgette and kale.
- Summer vegetables: Peppers, aubergine, mushrooms and asparagus.
- Truffles: A Tuscan favourite, black or white truffle makes this extra indulgent.
Recipes with Gnocchi
Gnocchi is a great weekday meal – especially when the dumplings are pre-made. Dinner can be ready in a matter of minutes, and here are plenty of recipes that help this pasta shine. Take a look at these recipes from HelloFresh:
- Porky Gnocchi
- Green Creamy Lemony Gnocchi
- Creamy Spiced Chicken Gnocchi
- Chorizo and Mozzarella Gnocchi