Gluten-free gnocchetti

Ever since discovering my husband has a severe intolerance to wheat, our kitchen has been bustling with experiment after experiment as we try out new recipes or attempt to recreate old favourites with new ingredients. There has been a fair share of failures — but also some truly happy discoveries. Like this gnocchi recipe made with potato starch, a light and powdery starch that is naturally wheat and gluten free. It’s possibly even — dare I say it? — better than the regular gnocchi recipe that uses plain flour.

gnocchi gf IMG_2827 blog

This is what we’ve found:

They’re easier to make than regular gnocchi because there’s no worry about overworking the gluten in the dough too much and ending up with chewy, tough gnocchi that you can bounce off a wall.

The result is an incredibly light and fluffy gnocchi – a dream, really.

Baking the potatoes is the key to this – and even more key, is using the right potato. It’s a longer process, but not any harder and you’ll be rewarded for your patience. As the liquid is drawn out through baking, you don’t need much starch to get it to come together. We’ve made them with boiled potatoes too but you end up having to use twice as much potato starch to get the right consistency and they are just a little gummier than the ones made with baked potato.

They don’t freeze that well, tending to fall apart when cooking in the pot after being frozen. So while this recipe makes a large batch, you can easily halve it or use it as a good excuse to invite a bunch of friends around for dinner.

making gluten free gnocchetti gnocchi feature

We like to shape them into little round balls, around the size of a hazelnut. These small gnocchi are often called gnocchetti (“little gnocchi”) or, in Florence, topini (“little mice”). No need to roll them off a fork and such — it really is so easy.

Serve the gnocchetti with your favourite sauce. My favourites are a good old tomato sauce with plenty of Parmesan cheese or the simplest of all, a butter and sage sauce. They’re also special done in this step up from butter and sage, with hazelnuts and pancetta thrown in – the recipe is included below.

gnocchi gluten free

Gluten-free gnocchetti

Serves 10-12

  • 1 kg of starchy potatoes (russets, dutch creams or king edwards, for example)
  • 500 grams of rock salt*
  • 100 gr potato starch
  • 1 egg (60 gr weight), beaten
  • 1 tsp salt

Rinse and pat dry the potatoes but leave them whole, skins on. It helps for cooking time if they are roughly of similar sizes. Place the rock salt in a baking tray in an even layer. Place the potatoes on top of the salt layer and bake at 180ºC for an hour or until a fork can easily pierce the potatoes.

Remove from the oven and let cool ever so slightly so they are warm but can be handled and remove the skin with a small sharp knife. Place the potato flesh in a large bowl and mash or put through a potato ricer so you have a smooth, fluffy consistency.

Add the egg and beat into the potato until combined. Then fold through the salt and flour until you have a soft dough. Pinch off fist-sized portions and with the palm of your hand, roll into a 1cm thick log, then cut the log into 1cm small pieces and roll each one until round and even. Continue until you have used up all the dough.

Cook the gnocchetti in simmering, salted water for a few minutes. Drain (saving some of the cooking liquid if needed for adding to the sauce) and serve with your favourite sauce or the one below.

*You can skip this part if you wish, baking the potatoes by themselves but the salt layer helps to absorb any excess moisture, all helping to make that fluffy, airy potato filling.

Pancetta and hazelnut sauce

Serves 4

  • 4 thick slices of pancetta, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 70 grams whole hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • ½ glass white wine
  • 50 grams cold butter
  • handful of chopped parsley or a few sage leaves

Saute the pancetta in a skillet with the olive oil and cook until golden brown. Drain the excess fat, add the hazelnuts to the pancetta and toast a few minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Simmer until you have barely any liquid left in the pan. Add the cold butter and herbs and when melted, toss the drained gnocchetti into the pan to coat, with a little of the reserved cooking liquid from the gnocchetti if needed. Serve immediately.

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Comments

19 Responses to “Gluten-free gnocchetti”
  1. Rosa says:

    A great idea and wonderful recipe! These gnochetti look perfect.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. These look wonderful! I must try to make these since I haven’t been very successful making my own gnocchi so far. This recipe sounds simple enough.

    • Emiko says:

      Very easy, Karin! You don’t have the danger of overworking them and as long as you start with good, starchy potatoes, you’ll get good results. Let me know how it goes!

  3. They look amazing and my son who is coeliac will be able to enjoy gnocchi once more. Thanks.

  4. Emma says:

    I totally agree that gf gnocchi taste better :-) So do muffins and most cakes too… And sweet pastry! Interesting to note how much more starch is needed if you boil the spuds! I’ve only ever used baked. Love the little tiny balls too, way easier than the fork thing… Which I’ve never quite mastered! Haha xx

    • Emiko says:

      It’s so true! That’s why your gluten-free brownie recipe has become my favourite – best tasting brownies ever! :) The tiny balls are great, aren’t they? I find them a little less stodgy than the bigger ones too but, incidentally, also easy for little fingers to pick up!

  5. Asha says:

    OOhh!! Love!!!! Silly question but fingers crossed – any substitute for potato starch? I am not GF but can’t eat much wheat flour. Millet? Corn?

    • Emiko says:

      Potato starch is totally wheat free, made just from potatoes so this should be fine for you. If you can’t find it for some reason (don’t substitute with potato flour, which is different) it’s closest substitute would be cornflour but I haven’t tried it in this recipe. It just seemed to make sense to me to use potato starch with potatoes, naturally! ;)

  6. Mary Frances says:

    These gnocchetti are adorable! I’m so glad the recipe is so easy, I want to make them for myself now, not to mention pancetta and hazelnuts in a sauce together sounds amazing!!!

  7. Rog says:

    Hello Emiko.. These look super tasty and so healthy because its a gluten free. I’ll be trying this for My new experiment next weekend.. thank you for the great share..

  8. Clairie says:

    Wow, it looks delicious and also quite easy, what is pretty important for a cooking anti-talent like me. I mean, a friend of mine used to say that there is nothing special about cooking because you just follow the recipe, but i think it’s a form of an art for which you really have to be talented. And since I wasn’t, I was so hopeless that I decided to try several cooking schools what also disappointed me until I found Karen from Viva Tastings who showed me that everyone can cook better, you just have to be patient. Well, it’s still not easy but now I’m in the phase of experiments and searching for some more inspiration, so thank you! :)

  9. Skye says:

    Oh goodness, Emiko! I adore pasta in butter and sage and always believed that some classics can’t be improved upon. Turns out I was wrong: hazelnut and pancetta?! Match made in heaven.
    Also – dying to try these gnochetti without gluten – they sound a dream!

  10. These look wonderful, I can’t believe Marco is still suffering from his wheat intollerance! Bless him! Must try and make these, one for the very long ‘to cook’ list!

  11. Dione says:

    Thank you for this recipe Emiko, I loved it. It was the first time I’d made gnocchi and they came out like soft, fluffy pillows, just perfect! But I made a critical error when I rolled the excess gnocchi through some potato starch and froze it. Turned into a gluggy mess when I cooked it tonight, so upsetting! Do you have any tips for freezing gnocchi? Or just best not to attempt? :)

    • Emiko says:

      I, too, found out the hard way that freshly made gnocchi (gluten free or regular flour) really do not freeze well! I have found that they fare better if you defrost them first, then very gently (as they will be softer than usual and even perhaps sticky) cook them in batches in barely simmering water until they float that they turn out ok — actually perfectly fine. But it’s a bit time-consuming and after the effort of making them by hand in the first place, I think it’s best to cook them right away and eat them rather than deal with the problems of freezing!

  12. Bec says:

    I would be interested in making GF Gnocchi, and GF Gnocchietti is just that tad cuter. This looks delicious, I am loving sage at the moment. Bec x

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