Turn four simple ingredients-potatoes, flour, egg yolk and salt-into light and fluffy homemade gnocchi (that's "NYOH-kee") that are way better and store-bought gnocchi. With these step-by-step instructions, you'll learn how to make gnocchi so you can give the delicious gift of homemade pasta to your family and friends.

Gnocchi is a delightfully fluffy Italian potato dumpling. Like most other pastas, it can make a humdrum meal more fun. Making them at home may seem complicated, but they're easier to roll out than you might think.

Before you get started, you'll need fully cooked russet potatoes to use with these instructions. (For a full list of ingredients to go with these instructions, check out our recipe for Homemade Potato Gnocchi.)

How To Make Homemade Gnocchi, Step-by-Step


Step 1: Scoop the insides out of baked potatoes and press them through a potato ricer fitted onto a clean work surface. (If you don't have a ricer, mash the potatoes with a fork or whisk until there are no large chunks; don't make it too smooth.)

Tip: Press the potatoes through the ricer while they're still hot.


Step 2: Gather the potato into a mound on the counter, sprinkle with salt and let cool, about 15 minutes. Then, pour egg yolk over the cooled potato and sprinkle with flour.


Step 3: Use a bench scraper, bowl scraper or metal spatula to gently fold the flour and egg into the potatoes until combined (it will not look like dough at this point).


Step 4: Gently squeeze, knead and pat the dough until it holds together and resembles biscuit dough or cookie dough. The dough will be a little sticky; if it's very sticky, add more flour, about 1 tablespoon at a time, as necessary. Be careful not to overwork the dough; overworked dough will yield tougher gnocchi.

Tip: Don't add too much flour or the gnocchi will be tough.


Step 5: Pat the dough into a 1-1/2-inch-thick disk and then divide it into 4 equal pieces.


Step 6: On a lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands, roll each portion into a 24- to 26-inch-long rope,rop 1/2- to 3/4-inch wide. Start at the center of the dough and roll out using your fingertips and very light pressure; gently pull the dough out as you roll.

Tip: Use a gentle touch when rolling the dough, you want tender gnocchi.


Step 7: Cut the rope into 3/4-inch pieces.


Step 8: Use your fingertip to make an indentation (or "dimple") in the center of each gnocchi. Place the gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet as they are made.

Cooking the Gnocchi: When you're ready to cook them, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add about one-quarter of the gnocchi at a time to the pot.

When they float to the top, they're done. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked gnocchi to a parchment or wax-paper lined baking sheet.

Serve warm tossed with your favorite homemade or jarred sauce, or use them in your favorite recipe.

Tip: A bonus of making potato gnocchi: It's easy to make ahead! Toss cooked gnocchi with olive oil and refrigerate in a single layer for up to 2 days. You can also freeze cooked gnocchi in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. When it's frozen, transfer the pasta to an airtight container. The frozen gnocchi will keep for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator, then add the gnocchi to boiling water and cook until they float.


Gnocchi Topping Ideas

Gnocchi is the perfect base for your favorite flavors. It's pasta at heart so consider all the ways you might top spaghetti. Here is a starting list.

* Proteins: Turkey sausage, shrimp, chopped chicken, white beans, bacon, crab, chorizo

* Vegetables: Spinach, chopped asparagus, peas, leeks, cherry tomatoes, zucchini ribbons, chard, artichoke, diced carrots, mushrooms, onion

* Cheese: Mozzarella, Parmesan, goat cheese, blue cheese, gorgonzola, feta

* Sauces: Cream, tomato, browned butter, olive oil, lemon juice, pesto, garlic

* Herbs: Crisped sage, chives, basil, rosemary

Watch: Turn your homemade gnocchi into a skillet dinner!