Gluten Free Gnocchi (Featuring Winter Squash!)
If you’ve never made your own gnocchi before, you are missing out on a real treat. It’s so easy, a toddler can do it.
Pa Hubbard and I were introduced to gnocchi in a tiny little restaurant in Florence, Italy, long before learning that he was gluten intolerant. The restaurant, frequented by elderly local patrons, was located far away from any of the popular tourist attractions. The plump little potato dumplings we were served were remarkable! I imagined a sweet Italian grandmother in the kitchen, rolling the dough and chopping up fresh seasonal ingredients for the sauce. I was hooked.
My family loves gnocchi too. Miss Muffet and Bo Peep call them “Pi-gnocchi-oes,” after one of their favorite stories. They dance and chant, “Pi-gnocchi, Pi-gnocchi!” as they come to the table.
Immediately before my family’s diagnosis, I had ordered a case of gnocchi from an on-line store – since they contained wheat, I promptly gifted them to friends. I’ll admit, if it hadn’t been for my family’s gluten intolerance, I’d probably still be buying packaged gnocchi.
But also because of my family’s gluten intolerance, I’ve discovered the ease and FUN of making our own gnocchi! Let me tell you, these are far superior to the packaged ones. Sure, there is a little advanced preparation involved, but with the girls’ help, I make a double-batch and freeze them for quick meals after work.
Once gnocchi are prepared, it takes only about 2 minutes to cook them in boiling water, even if frozen (yet another reason to love them!). Our favorite sauce also takes seconds to make: a little olive oil and a tablespoon of homemade pesto from our freezer. Mmmm!
The recipe I’m sharing today is a gluten free adaptation of Amy Goldman’s Marina di Chiogga Gnocchi recipe, found in her book, “The Compleat Squash*.” I’ve never grown Marina di Chiogga winter squash, but in keeping with gnocchi’s Italian origins, I use Butternut Rugosa Violina Gioia, a winter squash that produces a sweet and flaky pulp when baked.
Although we prepare this recipe with an inexpensive gnocchi board (less than $5 from King Arthur Flour’s online store), you can also use a fork to form grooves in your gnocchi. A gnocchi board is much faster, however, and you’ll also end up with more grooves for your yummy sauces.
- 1½ cups gluten free multipurpose flour with xanthan gum (King Arthur Flour preferred; see note), plus additional for rolling dough
- 1 cup baked and well-drained winter squash (butternut gioia violina rugosa or hubbard, preferred)
- 2 cups baked and skinned potatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- In a food processor, puree the squash, potato and salt.
- Remove puree to a large bowl. Add flour, ¼ cup at a time, mixing well with a spoon after each addition. Upon the last flour addition, mix dough with your hands.
- Lightly flour your hands and work surface. Pinch off a softball-sized piece of dough, dust with flour, and form into a ball. Roll the ball of dough into a 1-inch diameter rope (or “snake” as my daughters call them).
- Cut each rope into ¾ inch pieces. Press each piece of dough with your thumb onto a gnocchi board (or fork tines). Roll the gnocchi up and off the board (or tines) and place on a lightly floured surface (or on a baking tray lined with wax paper if you plan to freeze gnocchi).
- To cook gnocchi, add water to a large pot to a depth of about 4 inches. Boil water and, working in small batches, add gnocchi. After about 2 minutes, gnocchi will float to the top of the water. Allow to cook about 30 seconds longer, and remove with a slotted utensil. Toss with desired sauce.