Potato Gnocchi with Three Sauces

Gnocchi Recipe


  • 1 ½ pounds Idaho potatoes
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 ½ cups flour, plus more for the work surface
  • At least 1 tablespoon of sea salt for the cooking water

Cooking Directions

  1. Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with water about 2 inches above the top of the potatoes. Bring the potatoes to a gentle boil.
  2. Boil the potatoes until they are knife tender about 30-40 minutes. Try to keep the skins from rupturing so the potatoes don’t absorb any water and don’t overcook them.
  3. Let the potatoes cool a bit so that you can handle them. Peel them. If they’re too hot to handle use a kitchen towel to hold the hot potato when you peel them.
  4. Put the potatoes through a ricer or food mill while the potatoes are still hot. Mashing the potatoes works in a pinch but the gnocchi won’t be as light.
  5. Spread the riced potatoes on a cookie sheet or a flat baking pan in a single layer to cool and allow some of the moisture to evaporate. The drier the riced potatoes the lighter the dough will be.
  6. Bring a big pot of very well-salted water to a boil.
  7. Put the riced potatoes in a mound on a flat work surface. Create a well in the middle.
  8. Crack the egg onto the work surface in the well. Beat the egg well. (I don’t salt fresh pasta doughs including gnocchi because I think salt toughens the dough. I’d rather the gnocchi absorb salt in the boiling cooking water. But, if you want add about 3/4 teaspoon of salt to the egg before you beat it.)
  9. Slowly start to incorporate the egg into the ring of riced potatoes.
  10. When fully incorporated spread out the mixture and sprinkle some of the flour over the top.
  11. Knead the flour into the potato mixture.
  12. Repeat with another dusting of flour until the dough holds together and is smooth and soft. Try to use as little flour as possible for light gnocchi.
  13. Sprinkle some flour on the work surface so the dough doesn’t stick. Knead the dough to create a smooth dough ball.
  14. Cut the dough ball into 6 pieces.
  15. Flour the work surface again if necessary and roll each piece into a rope of 1/2 inch diameter.
  16. Cut the rope into ½ inch pieces. Make sure you have enough flour on your work surface so that the pieces don’t stick together.
  17. Using the back of a fork press the piece over the tines with your thumb and press downwards to push the gnocchi off the fork. You’ll create indentations from the tines on the back of the gnocchi and a concave indentation on the other side from the pressure of your thumb. Great shape and texture to absorb the sauce.
  18. Spread the gnocchi on a floured cookie sheet or flat baking pan as you make them.
  19. Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water, gently stir to make sure they don’t stick together and gently boil the gnocchi until they rise to the top of the water.
  20. Remove the gnocchi with a spider or mesh ladle and place them in the sauté pan with the sauce of your choice.

Makes about 48 gnocchi.

Don’t get interrupted when you’re making the gnocchi. When you finish making them all put them in the boiling water and eat them right away! Or, you can freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet or shallow baking pan. Make sure they not touching one another! When they’re frozen store them in a freezer bag. Boil them still frozen. They’ll take a little longer to cook.

Pesto Trapanese Recipe

Basil pesto ain’t the only one. Small ripe tomatoes and roasted almonds are the stars of this pesto. Basil is only a minor player. This uncooked sauce made in a blender or food processor takes only a few minutes. The aroma and taste of the almonds is front and center supported by the sweetness of the tomatoes and the sparkle of the hot pepper as you swallow.

Good for 1 pound or 500 grams of spaghetti or the yield from one full potato gnocchi recipe or your favorite pasta shape.


  • 2 ½ cups or ¾ pound of the ripest and sweetest cherry, pear or other small red tomato
  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed
  • 10-12 large fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup whole almonds, roasted or lightly toasted
  • ¼ teaspoon peperoncino flakes
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup EVOO
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano

Cooking Directions

  1.  Put the garlic, almonds, pepper flakes, basil leaves, tomatoes and then the sea salt in a food processor or blender.
  2. Blend for about a minute or so, scrape down the sides and then blend again until no large bits are visible.
  3. While the machine is running gently stream in the EVOO until the pesto is smooth and well blended.

Use the pesto at room temperature to dress the pasta. Top the dressed pasta with the grated Parmigiano Parmigiano. You can store it in the refrigerator for a few days.

Gorgonzola Sauce Recipe

A quick delicious piquant sauce you can make in less than the time it takes to boil the water for the pasta. The flavor of this noble blue cheese from northern Italia is the boss in this sugo. You don’t need a lot of the sauce. Just a thin coating on the pasta is what you want.

Good for 1 pound or 500 grams of pasta or the yield from one full potato gnocchi recipe.


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces gorgonzola dolce
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat the cream stirring frequently so a skin doesn’t form on top.
  2. When the cream is reduced and thickened add the gorgonzola and stir until the gorgonzola is melted and well blended with the cream.
  3. Mix in sea salt and pepper to taste.

Top the dressed pasta with the grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano.

Pizzaiola Sauce Recipe

Named after the pizza-makers of Napoli this sauce is just San Marzano tomatoes, garlic infused olive oil and oregano, a typical topping for a pizza. Simple and quick but a rich and robust sugo. I use this sauce for pasta, my eggplant parmigiano and other dishes that call for a flavorful tomato sauce.

Good for 1 pound or 500 grams of your favorite pasta or the yield from one full potato gnocchi recipe.


  • 1 28 oz. can of San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ cup grated pecorino

Cooking Directions

  1. Put the olive oil and garlic in a cold sauté pan big enough to hold the cooked pasta your using.
  2. Heat the pan over medium-high heat until the oil sizzles and the garlic just begins to take on some color.
  3. Add the tomatoes and salt and mix with the EVOO and garlic.
  4. Simmer to evaporate some of the liquid and the sauce thickens.
  5. Stir in the oregano.
  6. Continue cooking for about 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the garlic before using the sauce, or not. Your choice.

Top the dressed pasta with the grated pecorino.

Hint: Sometimes things go wrong. Don’t be discouraged, forge ahead!

34 Replies to “Potato Gnocchi with Three Sauces”

  1. thanks so much for your talent and share with us..i tried do a copie but I can do it…plss how can I do it? GBL and thanks for your respond…viv..

  2. Thank you for posting this! … I spent a summer in Tuscany in 2005, and returned in April. Each time, I had the most amazing gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce that was flecked with green.

    I tried adding pesto to mine, and it was completely wrong. I don’t think it was spinach, either.

    Except for a few words of social nicety, I don’t know any Italian, so I’m striking out at trying to identify the mystery ingredient.

    Might you know what it is that makes the Florentine Gorgonzola sauce green?

    Mille grazie!

    1. Ciao Lea. I’m not sure what those green flecks in the gorgonzola sauce you had in Tuscany, but I’ve had gnocchi in a gorgonzola flecked with fresh chopped rosemary, basil or flat parsley on stays in Florence. Maybe one of those herbs added to the gnocchi before serving will work for you. Keep on cooking!
      Buon appetito!

  3. I have been a gnocchi fan for years and after tasting an awesome gnocchi (made with seaweed, of all things!) was determined to learn how to make them myself. As you said, what you get in the stores is nothing in comparison. So I was really glad to have stumbled over your website and videos. You do make it look easy. My question for you is that I have several friends who can’t have gluten, so what can I use in lieu of flour? I have a gluten-free mix that I use for baking pies and quiches. Will that work okay with the gnocchi? I assume that it will be fine, but … why not ask the expert?!! Thanks!

    1. Ciao. I’ve just started working with gluten-free flours in some of my dishes. I tried to make fresh pasta with gluten-free flours for my tortellini in brodo episode and could not get a pliable pasta dough. The dough just fell apart. Let me know if gluten-free flour works for your gnocchi. I think it may. I’ll try some too and let you know how it turns out for me. Keep on cooking.

      Buon appetito!

    2. Gianni – I followed your instructions and the gnocchi turned out beautifully! My next step is to use gluten-free flour, to see how that works. For anyone who hasn’t yet tried to make gnocchi, I offer a few tips. 1.5 lbs is about 3 regular Idaho potatoes. If your potato ricer has multiple settings, use the finest grind. Rinse the ricer between potatoes, otherwise it will get gummed up. I found that it took about 15 minutes for the potatoes to cool enough to easily put through the ricer, then another 15-20 minutes for the riced spuds to cool off. Although perhaps time-consuming, this isn’t a difficult recipe and is well worth the effort. The sauces are awesome too – although I admit that I – um – edited them (I usually only follow directions word for word when I’m baking). Thanks again – and when I use the gluten-free flour, I will let you know how it turn out. Cheers, E

        1. The update on gnocchi using gluten-free flour. Yes, it can be done, but the dough is far more fragile than when using wheat flour – harder to roll it out without having it fracture (I found the same thing happened when making quiche and pie doughs with gluten-free flour), but easy to pinch back together again. The resulting gnocchi weren’t quite as light as the ones made with wheat flour and did have more of a potato taste, but still were quite good. I do not, however, recommend freezing them for cooking later – they seemed to fall apart more easily. I used a commercially available gluten-free flour – perhaps a different brand, with slightly different proportions might make a difference. I might also try using just rice flour. Cheers, E

  4. Just wondering…why no onions in the Pizzaiola Sauce recipe?
    I use this sauce for homemade ravioli also, it’s wonderful.

    1. You can put onions. They will sweeten the sauce a bit.

      This sauce is a tip of the hat to Neapolitan pizza makers and to my mind these are the basic ingredients they always have at their disposal when making a pie.

      Onion is one of the holy trinity I often use as a flavor base along with celery and carrot in my Sunday Gravy and Wedding Soup recipes for example.

  5. Hi, I haven’t tried making gnocci yet but I saw one lady on you tube who baked her potatoes instead of boiling. Would you recommend that? Then they are dry at least?

  6. “Peperoncino” is sort of a broad term. Do you know what specific variety of hot peppers are used in traditional Southern Italian cooking? My Italian grandfather used to grow these long hot peppers that resembled “finger hots” in his garden. He’d dry them whole, and then break them up in his soffrito. I prefer to use whole dried peppers instead of flakes, but I’m at a loss for what kind to use for Italian dishes. Do you have any ideas? Are Tai Peppers or Serrano Peppers acceptable?

    1. Ciao.

      I’m currently using whole dried peppers grown in my butcher’s garden. They’re small pods and very fiery. I’ll ask what kind they are. They look very similar to Tutto Calabria brand long hot peppers packed in oil that are always in my kitchen.

      Where was your grandfather from? The long hot peppers he grew may be the same as these Calabrian peppers.

      In her cookbook My Calbria, Rosetta Cosentino suggests that Thai peppers are close to the Calabrian peppers her parents grow in their garden.

      Hopes this helps.

  7. I think this was a delightful video, so clear. Demonstration of forming the gnocchi is so helpful; hope it stays up until I get around to making the dish. Right now, I’m collecting recipes I can and think I might use on a newly vegan diet. You must be a neighborhood treasure – or now an international internet treasure.

    Just wondering if this alone, perhaps with a salad, is the meal, or is this one of an almost endless succession of dishes for a large gathering?

    1. Ciao Martha. The gnocchi demo will be there when you get to the kitchen to try it out. I enjoy gnocchi all by itself, just with a salad or a smaller portion as part of a traditional Italian 4-course meal. Thanks for your kind words. Buon appetito!

    1. Sure I use onions to flavor a sugo. It depends on the sauce and whether I want to add the sweetness of the onions. I add onion to my Sunday Gravy. It’s a long-cooked sauce and the onion is a key flavor base.

  8. As a chef this is the best, non fussy, gnocchi di patate on the net, from shopping ,preparing to the accompanying sauces, with an authentic, natural, warm Gianni. Aspiring italian cooks, Watch the video a better one than what you can find in Italy.

  9. Hi Gianni,
    thanks so much for this demonstration. It’s the best I’ve seen on gnocci making on the internet. And your trapanese sauce is just delicious.
    Randy Grant, Montreal, Canada

  10. II am having trouble making the gnocchi. I do not have a ricer and have been hand mashing the potatoes, however every time I do I get a very sticky potato goop. Do you have any suggestions on how to solve this problem?

    1. I think the potatoes are too wet. Gently boil them so that the jackets don’t split and allow the potato to absorb water. Spread the mashed potatoes out to allow them to dry out before adding the egg. Add enough flour to bind the mixture. Hopefully, you will be able to go from potato goop to gnocchi.

    2. I used to use a wire masher & just recently bought a ricer.

      The difference is night & day. Any gnocchi is better than no gnocchi but sometimes it really does make a difference using the right tools. Go buy a ricer (they are not expensive) and you will not be disappointed.

  11. Bravo! Just saw this while searching for a new gnocchi sauce to try and your Pesto Trapanese recipe is delicious!!

    1. Thanks for passing it on Dick. Michelle’s gnocchi look great. She’s right though, gotta make your own potato gnocchi. The store-bought stuff is made with potato flakes. It would be great if she linked to our blog so folks can see my take on tre paste and the gnocchi video demonstration.

  12. Marie, I thought the same thing: he makes it look so easy! And John, I thought all three sauces were tasty, but the one with the almonds is a real gem. I think I might have been a Sicilian in a past life. ;~)

  13. Hope this helps Marie. Remember rice the potatoes while still hot, let them cool and dry, not too much flour, gentle kneading to form the dough (don’t overwork it) and you’ll end up with fluffy and light gnocchi. Buon appetito!

  14. Just watched this. I’m inspired. You do make it look easy. Last time I made them (before watching you) they were a disaster. Will try again. Thanks.

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