Gnocchi Is the Easy Homemade Pasta Project We Need Right Now

You can make the dumplings with potatoes, ricotta or even stale bread.

By: Frances Kim
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Michael Symon features Ricotta Gnocchi with Brown Butter, as seen on Food Network Kitchen Live.

Photo by: Brian David Photography

Brian David Photography

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If you’ve only ever enjoyed gnocchi at a restaurant or bought the dumplings frozen at the grocery store, you’re in for a revelation: they might just be the simplest pasta to make at home. You don’t need a machine or even a rolling pin to pull them off — just clean hands. Plus you can make the forgiving, versatile dough out of all kinds of ingredients: ricotta cheese, hardy vegetables from potatoes to cauliflower, or even stale leftover bread. Whichever base you choose, this fast, fuss-free pasta is so much more than the sum of its parts. Be sure to check out the Food Network Kitchen classes below and start channeling your inner nonna for dinner tonight.

Chef Michael Symon shares his grandma’s secrets to perfect ricotta gnocchi every time, from straining the cheese for a lighter dough to flavoring the dumplings with lemon zest and Parmesan. The best part? The gnocchi don’t need to be boiled they’re browned straight in the butter and finished with sage and water for the most impressive one-pan supper.

Guest Scott Conant's Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce is displayed, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen, Season 12.

Photo by: Jason DeCrow ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Jason DeCrow, © 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Chef Scott Conant knows his way around gnocchi, having made the dish countless times at his restaurants. You don’t want to miss his tips and tricks for getting the classic potato version just right (spoiler alert: for the tenderest dumplings, start with baked potatoes, not boiled.) Bonus: the simple pomodoro he makes to accompany the pasta is our new go-to red sauce.

Chef Jackie Rothong shows us how to spin a leftover loaf into pasta gold: breadcrumbs are soaked in milk, then bolstered with flour, eggs, ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano to make a magical gnocchi dough. She sauces the dumplings with a speedy pistachio pesto you’ll want to put on everything.

Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi beauty, as seen on Food Network Kitchen Live.

Photo by: Rob Pryce

Rob Pryce

These kid-approved dumplings from Weelicious founder and cookbook author Catherine McCord call for five ingredients — frozen spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg yolk and flour — and take just 20 minutes from start to finish. While you can toss the gnocchi with any sauce you fancy, another sprinkle of Parm is all they really need to shine.

Spinach-Cauliflower Gnocchi with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, as seen on Food Network Kitchen Live.

Photo by: Kerri Brewer

Kerri Brewer

Frozen cauliflower rice and spinach are the stars of these vegan, gluten-free dumplings that can go from freezer to table in just half an hour. Cassava flour helps bind the dough, while nutritional yeast, garlic powder and dried oregano add tons of flavor. Follow along as chef Alyssa Gagarin forms the bite-size gnocchi, fries them until golden and serves the dish with a Mediterranean-inspired sun-dried tomato pesto.

Ready for more pasta shapes? We highly recommend tuning into James Briscione's Pasta from Scratch course on the Food Network Kitchen app — you'll learn how to make everything from spaghetti and pappardelle to tortellini and ravioli.

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