Who doesn’t love gnocchi? I know I do! Gnocchi was one of the first pasta dishes I learnt to make back when I was an apprentice at Jamie Olivers Fifteen.

After leaving fifteen and working in many different kitchens over the years I have seen that many chefs struggle to make really good gnocchi. There are many factors to making the perfect gnocchi and its really not that difficult when you know how! So lets get started!

Choosing starchy potatoes

Of course all potatoes contain starch, however some contain more starch than others. I like to use ‘desiree’ red potatoes as these are the potatoes I have had most experiences with, they are starchy and dry and in my experience very reliable.

Cooking of the potatoes

Cooking the potatoes properly is probably the most important factor when making potato gnocchi. Some cook them in water with the skin on and some bake them in the oven. Either way the most important thing is that they are not overcooked, as this changes the profile of the starch and your gnocchi may become a sticky nightmare.

Adding a bit of extra starch

The natural starch in the potatoes is part of what creates the strength in the dough and stops the gnocchi from disintegrating in the water during the cooking process. If you want to be sure of great gnocchi every time then add a little extra starch! This will firm up your gnocchi to get that delicious bite.

Now that you know the fundamentals, here is the recipe!

Semolina Gnocchi

(serves 4 people)

5 medium size red potatoes – 500g (sieved potato after cooking and peeling)
120g semolina flour
55g starch (potato or corn starch)
20g/1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fine himalayan salt

1. Boil the potatoes with the skin on until they are cooked through. Stick a skewer or a knife through the potatoes to make sure they are cooked, a knife should slide through with minimal resistance. 

2. Whilst the potatoes are still hot (but not scalding) peel them with a small knife, and pass them through a colander or a moulin (potato ricer), if you use a colander you may wish to use a spatula or a spoon to push the potato through. Alternatively mash the potatoes by hand (they wont be as light and fluffy though!)

3. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring them together in the bowl until it becomes one mass. Place the dough onto a surface and knead lightly for a minute or two. Use the surface to roll the mass into a ball, cover with a cloth and leave to rest for 5-10 minutes (this allows the starch to activate and the gluten to relax which makes rolling them out easier). 

4. Cut the mass into 4 pieces and with two hands begin to roll out into long thin logs (4cm wide) and then cut into 4x4cm pieces.

5. Roll the gnocchi down the inside of a fork to create the final shape (check out a video on youtube to insure correct technique).

6. Cook the gnocchi in boiling salt water, 1 tbsp salt per 2 litres of water. When they begin to float leave them for a remaining 5-10 seconds and then transfer into a pan or a bowl with your favourite pasta sauce.