Italian gnocchi are usually cylinders formed by rolling out the dough into a rope shape and cutting in into bite-sized pieces
Italian-style Gnocchi

Try these delicious Italian-style gnocchi featured in the Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms & Rosemary Sauce recipe I share today.

Sure, I love to eat all the familiar kinds of pasta. Why else would I have named my flagship restaurant Spago, after Italian slang for spaghetti?

But, I must admit, sometimes you need to go beyond just spaghetti, especially at this time of year. When it's cold outside and you're stressed out over all the holiday season planning, you need food that really comforts and sustains you.

That's when I start thinking about making potato dumplings, like the delicious Italian-style gnocchi featured in the recipe I share today.

In my home in southern Austria, where I grew up and first learned to cook, my mother and grandmother made potato dumplings called knudeln, similar in their basic preparation to the gnocchi found just across the border to the south. The ones my mom and grandmother made, however, were bigger and stuffed with delicious pork cracklings, onions, and parsley for winter main dishes, or in summer with fresh apricots or plums.

Italian gnocchi, on the other hand, are much smaller -- usually cylinders formed by rolling out the dumpling dough into a rope shape and cutting in into bite-sized pieces. Instead of being stuffed, they're served with a sauce, which can range from simple pesto or tomato sauce to a combination of toppings like the rosemary sauce and sauteed mushrooms like in the recipe here.

Whatever sauce or topping you use, and whether you're preparing bigger Austrian-style knudeln or smaller Italian gnocchi, your success with dumplings will depend mainly on knowing a few important tips about making the dough. But the process is still easy, and not too time-consuming -- perfect for a weekend meal or on a day you can get home a little earlier from work.

Make sure you cook the potatoes just until fork-tender, and then drain them well. Overcooked potatoes, or those from which you haven't let surface moisture evaporate, will give soggy results and require more flour to get a dry dough, resulting in less concentrated potato flavor.

When mixing the dough, take care not to overwork it, or your dumplings will turn out less tender and more gummy because of the elastic gluten and sticky starch that will overdevelop. Use a light hand, stopping as soon as the dough comes together into a ball.

Once you've shaped the gnocchi and spread them on a baking sheet as described in the recipe, you don't even have to cook them right away. Instead, put the sheet in the freezer until the gnocchi are frozen solid; then, pack into airtight freezer storage bags. They'll keep well for a month or two, ready to cook in boiling water until they rise to the surface, providing you with the basis for a sustaining meal all winter long.

[ More Gnocchi Recipes: Gnocchi With Pumpkin Rosemary Sauce & Gnocchi with Fresh Vegetables ]

Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms & Rosemary Sauce

    Prep Time: 35 minutes

    Cook time: 55 minutes

    Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms & Rosemary Sauce Ingredients

    1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    For the Gnocchi

      2 large baking potatoes, peeled and quartered

      1/2 to 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

      2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

      1 large cage-free egg, lightly beaten (use half only)


      Freshly ground white pepper

    For the Rosemary Sauce

      2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

      1 large shallot, minced

      3 garlic cloves, minced

      1 cup dry white wine

      2 cups organic chicken broth

      3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

      1 pound Roma (plum) tomatoes, cored, halved, seeded, and coarsely chopped

      1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves


      Freshly ground white pepper

    For the Wild Mushrooms

      2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

      1/2 pound mixed wild mushrooms such as shiitake, porcini, and chanterelle, cleaned, trimmed, and cut into bite-sized pieces

      1 large shallot, minced

      2 medium garlic cloves, minced

      2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley


      Freshly ground black pepper

Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms & Rosemary Sauce Recipe Instructions

    For the gnocchi

      Boil the potatoes in a large saucepan of salted water until fork-tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

      Drain thoroughly and let sit in the hot pan briefly until all visible moisture evaporates. Over a medium bowl, press through a ricer. Cool to room temperature.

      Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour.

      Add the potatoes. Dust with 1/2 cup flour and the Parmesan.

      Make a well in the center and add the egg and salt and pepper to taste. With a fork, gradually stir the potato mixture into the egg, until a ball of dough forms; do not overmix. If the dough seems wet and hard to handle, add the remaining flour.

      To shape gnocchi, divide the dough into 8 portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a rope 1/4 inch in diameter and 15 inches long. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly dust with flour.

      Arrange the gnocchi, not touching, on the sheet. Leave at room temperature for up to 2 hours before cooking.

      Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in 4 batches, until they rise to the surface, 1 to 2 minutes.

    For the rosemary sauce

      Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute the shallot and garlic until translucent.

      Add the wine, stir and scrape with a wooden spoon to deglaze, and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup.

      Add the broth and boil until reduced by half.

      Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.

      Stir in the tomatoes and rosemary and season to taste with salt and pepper.

      Let cool briefly, then carefully puree in a food processor or blender. Set aside.

    For the mushrooms

      In a medium skillet heat the oil over medium heat.

      Saute the mushrooms until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes.

      Stir in the shallot, garlic, and parsley and cook 2 minutes longer.

      Season to taste and set aside.

    Before serving, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and add the gnocchi.

    Warm the sauce, pour over the gnocchi, sprinkle with Parmesan, and bake for 10 minutes.

    Meanwhile, reheat the mushrooms.

    Spoon the gnocchi into soup plates, scatter mushrooms on top, and serve.

[ More Gnocchi Recipes: Gnocchi With Pumpkin Rosemary Sauce & Gnocchi with Fresh Vegetables ]

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