Tablet Life & Arts

Everyday Food: Homemade gnocchi star in simple, fall dishes

These light-as-air potato dumplings — a Northern Italian classic — are simple to prepare and make enough to freeze for later. Learn our straightforward technique, then use the finished product in these quick and simple recipes. With delicious results like this, it’s time well spent.

Simple potato gnocchi

Serves 8

• 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (about 5 small)

• Coarse salt

• 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

• 1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. In a large pot, bring potatoes to a boil in salted water; reduce to a rapid simmer and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 35 to 40 minutes. Lightly dust two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets with flour; set aside. Drain potatoes and peel while still hot with a paring knife (use a thick, dry kitchen towel or pot holder to hold them). Immediately pass potatoes through a ricer onto a work surface. Let cool completely.

2. Sprinkle potatoes with flour and 2 teaspoons salt, then top with egg. With your hands, work flour and egg into a dough.

3. Knead dough until smooth but not elastic, dusting with flour if it becomes too sticky, 4 minutes. Do not overwork dough.

4. Divide dough into 8 portions. Roll each portion into a rope (1/2 inch thick and 24 inches long). Cut each rope into 1/2-inch pieces.

5. Gently roll each dough piece against the back tines of a fork to make ridges, then arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheets.

6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In batches, add a few handfuls gnocchi and cook until most have floated to top, 2 minutes. With a wire-mesh spider or a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi immediately to a sauce.

Make ahead: Place boiled gnocchi on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, cover, and let sit up to 2 hours.

Freeze them: Freeze raw gnocchi on baking sheets until firm; transfer to freezer bags and freeze, up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature on parchment-lined sheets, 30 minutes, before boiling.

Gnocchi with bacon and tomato

Serves 4

In a large skillet, cook 5 slices bacon, thinly sliced, over medium-high until crisp. Drain on paper towels; pour out all but 2 teaspoons fat from skillet. Add 3 medium tomatoes, cored and diced medium, 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled, and 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes; season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Cook until tomatoes begin to break down and sauce is chunky, 6 minutes. Add 1/2 batch simple potato gnocchi, boiled, and bacon. Toss until gnocchi are heated through and coated with sauce. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and shaved Parmesan and serve immediately.

Baked gnocchi with ricotta and marinara

Serves 4

Heat broiler, with rack in top position. Divide 1/2 batch simple potato gnocchi, boiled, among four 8-ounce shallow baking dishes or place in an 8-inch square baking dish. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper, then top with dollops of 1/2 cup marinara sauce and 3/4 cup ricotta cheese. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan and broil until tops are browned in spots and gnocchi are heated through, 3 to 5 minutes, rotating once.

Gnocchi with kale

Serves 4

In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high. Add 1 large bunch kale, tough stems removed, thinly sliced crosswise, and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest and 1/2 batch simple potato gnocchi, boiled, and season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Toss until gnocchi are heated through. To serve, drizzle with 2 teaspoons oil.