Homemade gnocchi is one of the most delicious Italian pasta dishes that you will ever experience. Throw out any ideas of gummy, dense store-bought gnocchi because the homemade kind is light, pillowy and the stuff of dreams. Usually to get these kinds of results, however, the recipe requires that you use a potato ricer. But what if you don’t have one? Not to worry, because I’m here to tell you that you can easily make gnocchi without a ricer and it will likely be the best gnocchi of your life.
Making gnocchi by hand may seem like a daunting and complicated task, but I assure you it isn’t. This gnocchi recipe without a ricer only requires three ingredients along with a bit of salt and pepper (much like my fettuccine alfredo recipe) and a little bit of time. So if you’re looking for a fun cooking project that will certainly yield fantastic results, then look no further!
You don’t need any special equipment to make these Italian potato dumplings and obviously, you don’t even need a potato ricer. So if you’ve been wondering how to make gnocchi without a ricer, then look no further! I’ve got you covered with some fo the best gnocchi you will ever taste.
How to Make Gnocchi Without a Ricer
The first step to making gnocchi is baking the potatoes. I highly recommend baking potatoes as opposed to boiling them as you want to avoid as much water getting into them as possible. The more water, the more starchy the potatoes will be and the tougher your eventual gnocchi will be.
Start with preheating your oven to 200°C (400°F) and pricking your potatoes all over the skin with a fork. This will prevent them from bursting while cooking. Put them on a baking sheet and bake until you can easily pierce them with a paring knife, about one hour.
As soon as you take your potatoes from the oven, it’s time to peel them. They will, obviously, be very hot so hold them in a tea towel to protect your hand. Remove the skins carefully with a paring knife and discard. The reason for peeling the potatoes while hot is to prevent more steam from accumulating in the potato and making them tougher.
Once your potatoes have been peeled, allow them to cool to room temperature, uncovered. You can then cover them with plastic wrap and allow them to chill completely in the refrigerator overnight or use them once they’ve cooled down enough to adequately handle.
Once your potatoes have cooled, it’s time to grate them on the small holes of a box grater. This is how you rice potatoes without an actual ricer, as you’re not agitating the potatoes the way you would if you were using a masher but you’re still ensuring that they are light and fluffy.
Using a bench scraper (or just your hands if you don’t have one), spread the potatoes out over a large cutting board or clean work surface. Lightly beat an egg and pour it over the potatoes. Season liberally with salt and pepper and then, using a fine mesh sieve, dust about a third of your flour over the potatoes.
Cut and mix this all together using your bench scraper until it’s well combined. Dush with more flour and combine again. Repeat this step until all of your flour is incorporated.
Then, use your hands to lightly knead it into a dough and shape it into a log. Be careful not to knead for a long time, but do make sure that the dough does feel like a dough with some structure and not just like mashed potatoes.
There is a chance that you can undermix and the dough will feel too delicate to handle. If this is the case, your gnocchi will disintegrate when boiled and it’s an incredibly discouraging feeling — I know because it’s happened to me. It will take a few goes of making gnocchi to really get a feel for what the dough should be, so just be patient and kind to yourself!
And that’s all there is to making the dough! As you can see, this is also a lesson on how to make gnocchi without ricotta, which is also not a necessary ingredient to the perfect gnocchi!
Now, all there is left to do is shape your gnocchi. Dust a work surface with flour and cut a section of your dough off. Gently roll the dough into a log shape until it reaches about 3 centimetres (1 inch) in diameter.
Then, cut the log into 3-centimetre (1 inch) wide pieces. Take each piece and roll it over the back tines of a fork, in order to create the iconic ridges. This will ensure the gnocchi have lots of ability to cling to a sauce.
Before going any further, this is a good time to boil a small pot of water and test your gnocchi. If it’s your first time, you don’t want to go through the process of cutting and shaping all of the dumplings only to have them dissolve in the pot. So boil a bit of water and drop in one or two gnocchi to see how they hold up. If they don’t stay intact, just lightly knead in a bit more flour and try again!
Once you’ve shaped all of your gnocchi, you can cook them immediately. Just bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil and gently lower them inside. You only need to cook them for a minute or two until they are done. You’ll know when they’re cooked because they’ll float to the top of the water. Toss in any sauce of your choosing and enjoy!
Alternatively, gnocchi freeze very well and if you’re not going to be cooking them immediately after forming, you actually should freeze them, even if it’s only for a few hours. All you need to do is pop formed gnocchi on a plate or baking sheet and put them in the freezer until they’re solid. Then, transfer them to a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to three months. You can cook them directly from frozen, just remember to add a little extra time onto the cooking time.
- 800g (1lb 12oz) potatoes, skins on and scrubbed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 150g (5.3oz or 1 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for work surface
- Salt & pepper
Forming the Gnocchi
- Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Prick potatoes all over with a fork. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until tender and the skin and flesh is easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.
- Remove potatoes from oven and, holding one potato in a towel to protect your hands, remove the skins with a paring knife immediately. Allow peeled potatoes to cool completely at room temperature, uncovered. Alternatively, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight
- Once potatoes are cooled, gently grate them on the small holes of a box grater. Spread the "riced" potatoes over a large cutting board or clean work surface. You should have about 500g of riced potatoes.
- Pour one beaten egg over the potatoes, dust with sifted flour and season with salt and pepper. Using a bench scraper, cut and combine the ingredients together until well blended. Then, using your hands, gently knead until the dough just comes together and an obvious dough forms, about one minute to 90 seconds. Gather into a ball and set aside.
- Dust a clean work surface with flour and divide the dough into smaller pieces. Working one piece at a time, very gently roll the dough into a log that is about 3cm (1 inch) in diameter.
- Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the log into 3cm (1 inch) wide pieces. Working one piece at a time, roll the dough over the back of the tines of a fork to shape the gnocchi. Set aside on a floured plate or baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.
Cooking the Gnocchi
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil.
- Gently drop in your gnocchi, stir to prevent sticking, and cook until they float to the top of the water, only about 2 minutes. Remove from the water and dress with desired sauce.
Formed, raw gnocchi can be frozen. Transfer formed gnocchi to a plate or baking sheet that is lightly floured. Freeze on the plate until solid and then transfer to a plastic bag or airtight container and freeze for up to three months. Cook directly from frozen, just be sure to add a minute or two onto the cooking time.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 340Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 39mgCarbohydrates: 71gFiber: 5gSugar: 3gProtein: 10g
Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Making gnocchi without a ricer or without ricotta is not hard at all! In fact, it is just as easy to do make gnocchi without a potato ricer as it is to use one and the results are just as delicious! So if you’re looking for your next great cooking project, why not give this one a go?
Are you wondering if you can make gnocchi without a ricer? Have any questions about this recipe? Let me know in the comments!