Thursday, May 16, 2013

Homemade Gnocchi and Meatballs


Gnocchi in marinara and pesto 

       Yes, I have posted gnocchi before, but never how I go about making them.  They are truly my favorite of the pasta world.  They are so quick and easy to make and fill you up.  I love them.  I dream about them.  I used to love when my grandma, (nonna), would make these little pillows of awesomeness.  My mother used to make them as well and they too are her favorite.  I thought earlier in the week that I should make a quick batch.  Plus I was out of marinara sauce and it is always good to have some always in the fridge.  When you make sauce, at least in my family, you always make quarts and quarts so that you can freeze it and always have some.  I will go into how to make a good marinara at some other time.  Today it is about the gnocchi and an accompaniment.  Gnocchi, (pronounced-"Nyokki", that's the best way I can think of spelling how it sounds), are potato pasta made from mashed potatoes, flour, and a little egg.  They go great with a marinara or even a good pesto sauce.  I'll explain how to make pesto some other time as well.  Serves 4-5.

Homemade Gnocchi


  • 2 lg potatoes
  • 2/3 cup-1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • Salt/pepper

Skin the potatoes and boil in water until fork tender.  Drain and let cool.  Once cooled mash up as if you are making mashed potatoes and add some salt and pepper.  Take an egg and incorporate into the potato mash.  Next, mix in about 2/3 cup of the flour until well combined.  Turn out on a floured surface and kneed until you have a hearty, firm dough that is a bit sticky.  I then cut off sections and roll into long 1/2 inch ropes.

Now with a sharp knife carefully cut off 1/2 inch dumplings.

 I place all the dumplings onto a wax paper or foil lined baking sheet in order to place in the freezer for half an hour to help firm up.

In a large pot of boiling water drop in the gnocchi.  Stir and bring to a boil.  The gnocchi will float to the top.  Cook about 5 minutes, drain, and coat in your favorite sauce and serve.  

Meatballs are always a favorite of any Italian and every family has their own recipe as well.  Some cook them in the oven by baking them, some fry, and some cook raw in their sauce.  I cook mine two different ways depending on what I am making.  If I am making just meatballs for pasta, I cook them raw within a marinara sauce I am cooking on the stove.  It adds flavor to the sauce and allows the meatballs to remain moist and juicy.

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 chunk of homemade bread torn into little pieces
  • 2 tbs parsley
  • 1 egg
  • Salt/pepper

In a mixing bowl combine all the above ingredients until well combined.  Hand roll each meatball about the size of a gulf ball.  This recipe should make at least 18-20 meatballs depending on your consistency with shaping.  Drop directly into simmering marinara sauce on the stove and cook within the sauce for about 1 hour.