How to make gluten free gnocchi

How to make gluten free gnocchi

By 23/03/2017

We are a family who loves cereals and grains: we love our pastas, pizzas, risottos and polenta. Grains can provide several important nutrients to your daily diet.

My mantra is and always will be: a Mediterranean diet for every day of the week.

One of the problems with modern grains though is that in the last few decades they have been genetically modified, some more than others with wheat being the worst offender. This is why so many people suffer from gluten intolerance and this problem seems to be on the increase. I have been partially affected too with my sensitive gut but for me, that I am not a celiac and don't want to become one, I can get away with varying the grains on my diet. I have a friend who is a microbiologist and has a good knowledge of plants and grains; he said to me that we all get affected by consuming too much modern wheat but in different ways. Modifying wheat was certainly a smartΒ  choice from a business point of view but at the expense of our health.

Thankfully there is plenty of choice like for example: spelt, kamut, rye, barley which contain less gluten than wheat, whereas buckwheat, rice, corn, amaranth, millet, teff, quinoa are gluten free. Most doctors will say "vary your diet" therefore alternating your grains can only be a good idea too.

Gnocchi are one of my favourite Italian dishes I learnt from my grandmother. This time I tried the gluten free version.
To make gluten free gnocchi all you need to do is substitute wheat flour for rice, cornflour or gluten free flour and add a large egg in order to "glue" all the ingredients together.

You will find that the consistency of these gn0cchi is different and softer than traditional gnocchi made with wheat. This is why you will need to use your judgement when you make them (and this is the case for traditional gnocchi too). The dough should not be sticky and you should be able to roll your gnocchi easily. If the consistency is too sticky than add extra flour and if it is too dry, add an extra egg to combine the mixture well.

Some people add sweet rice flour to help combine the mixture but I found that ordinary rice flour works fine too.

Gluten free gnocchi dough behaves differently from the traditional one: if you add extra flour your gnocchi when cooked won't be hard and chewy. My mum told me that the first time she made gnocchi they were so hard that she gave them to the hens in the garden but they could not eat them either: their beak was stuck in the dough! She never made gnocchi ever again. Well, be assured, you will never get that with gluten free gnocchi.

I have served them with a simple "salsa al pomodoro" or tomato sauce with fresh basil leaves and olive oil but of course you can enjoy them with a tasty meat ragu' too or just with a classic butter and sage sauce.

This recipe serves 4.

  • Prep Time : 40 minutes
  • Cook Time : 40 minutes
  • Yield : 4

Ingredients

Instructions

Put the potatoes in a sauce pan (without peeling them), cover them with cold salty water and bring to the boil. Cook for 30 minutes or until soft.

Drain, wait a few minutes for them cool down a little then peel them (do not wait until they are completely cold). Remove their skin and using a potato ricer, mash the potatoes and spread them out on your work top to cool down completely.

Add the egg, a good pinch of salt and using your hands combine all the ingredients well.

mashed potatoes for gnocchi

Add the rice flour a little bit at a time and incorporate it well with the potatoes.

Gnocchi dough

Cut portions of the dough then roll it like cigars and cut them into little bits. Add a little extra flour if the mixture feels too sticky to knead or if it is too dry and crumbly add an extra egg. You can now make little balls by rolling the gnocchi between the palm of your hands.

Gnocchi gluten free

Let's make the sauce.

In a pan stir fry the garlic cloves with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the the tomato sauce, salt and pepper and the basil leaves. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes over a gentle heat stirring from time to time.

Basil leaves

Bring some water to the boil and when it is simmering cook the gnocchi by dropping them into the water a few at a time. They are cooked when they begin to float to the top. Strain them using a slotted spoon and put them onto your serving dish.

Put the sauce on top, a drizzle of olive oil and serve.

You can sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top if you like.

Gluten free gnocchi recipe

If you are into gluten free check out my chestnut gnocchi recipe too.

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15 Responses to How to make gluten free gnocchi

  1. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    I too love grains, but just don’t eat as plenty as I want any more. Wish I could taste some of yours! Looks great with tomato sauce.

    • Alida

      Yes I like pasta and gnocchi with a simple tomato and olive oil sauce.

  2. elisabetta

    Gnocchi are irresistible, just like little pillows that melt in your mouth. Your mum’s first attempt at making them might have been unsuccessful (povera gallina!) but I’m sure she won next time round. Regarding altering the genetic structure of grains, fruit and vegetables is intrinsically wrong. Mother Nature should never be tampered with.

    • Alida

      Yes mother nature should remain as it is. My mum never seemed to have managed to make successful gnocchi again, on the other hand she is very good at making many other delicious foods.

  3. La cucina di Molly

    Che buoni questi gnocchi, mi piace l’idea di usare la farina di riso, bravissima! Un bacione!

    • Alida

      Si adesso la sto usando molto piu’ spesso. Mi piace.

  4. Rosa

    Ciao Alida! What a great post! I made gluten free pasta several years ago with gluten free flour, and I found that it absorbed a lot of moisture and the dough was a bit tricky to work with. But in the end, it tasted delicious and was very close to the original egg pasta. I haven’t tried gluten free gnocchi but your detailed post explains really well what I should expect when I make it. Thanks for writing this wonderful post!! Looking forward to trying it soon. πŸ™‚

    • Alida

      I still have to try to make gluten free pasta..practice makes perfect. Many thanks for your visit Rosa and heading to yours now!

  5. All That I'm Eating

    This looks so good Alida. I have made ‘normal’ gnocchi before, because of the small amount of flour added I bet you can’t tell the difference. Such a classic recipe.

    • Alida

      They are different but equally tasty too.

  6. Balvinder

    I must try this one. My daughter loves gnocchi, although she is not gluten free but I don’t want to make just for one person. Now we both can eat this. Thanks for sharing, Alida!

  7. Kate - Gluten Free Alchemist

    Thank you Alida.I will definitely be making these….. I love gnocchi and really really need to find a good recipe… I feel that I can trust yours for sure xxx

    • Alida

      Thanks very much Kate!

  8. Michelle Wissing

    I tried this recipe tonight using rice flour instead of wheat flour (as suggested in the recipe), and it all worked perfectly with correct texture up until I put it in the boiling water to cook. Then all my gnocci completely dissolved to nothing. I am really disappointed and certainly won’t be making this recipe again.

    • Alida

      Dear Michelle, I am sorry the recipe did not work out for you. Gluten free gnocchi can be tricky to make because there is no gluten in rice flour to hold the gnocchi together. Eggs act as a binding agent although this is not sufficient.The type of potato used is very important: they need to be starchy potatoes like Old Russet. Some recipes also suggest using sweet rice flour instead of white rice flour which might provide some more structure to the gnocchi. You can also try baking the potatoes instead of boiling them so they will be more starchy.

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