September 9th, 2011
11:30 AM ET
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When Marco Canora was the chef de cuisine 10 years ago at Tom Colicchio's now flagship restaurant Craft, his gnocchi were described by then New York Times restaurant critic William Grimes as "eye-rolling pleasure bombs" in his three-star review.

This past week, current Times critic Sam Sifton re-reviewed Craft citing the gnocchi as "the same butter-laden pleasure bombs Mr. Grimes raved about in 2001."

While Marco Canora has moved on, becoming the executive chef of his own restaurants - Hearth and Terroir - as well as the author of the James Beard-nominated cookbook "Salt to Taste," his gnocchi legacy carries on.

Serves 4 to 6


  • 3 large russet (Idaho) potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • About 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • About 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • About 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prick the potatoes with a fork and bake them until they are soft, about 1 1/2 hours.
  2. While they're still hot, cut all the potatoes in half lengthwise - you want to create as much surface area as possible so the steam billows out. (Steam is water; the less water the potatoes contain, the less flour you will need. The less flour, the lighter the gnocchi.)
  3. Scoop the potatoes out of the skins and into a fine-holed ricer. Pass them through the ricer onto a large clean work surface - use your countertop or kitchen table. Using the end of a large metal kitchen spoon, spread the potatoes into an even rectangle about 24" x 12".
  4. Season the potatoes generously with white pepper (if available). When they are no longer hot to the touch, almost room temperature, beat the egg yolk. Drizzle the egg yolk over the potatoes. Measure 1 1/4 cups flour and sprinkle this over the potatoes.
  5. Using a pastry scraper, cut the flour and egg into the potatoes, chopping and then turning the mixture in on itself and folding it together, until everything is well mixed and the dough resembles coarse crumbs. Bring the mixture together into a ball.
  6. Sprinkle a scant 1/4 cup flour on the work surface. Place the dough on the flour and press down, flattening it into a disk with both hands. Dust the dough with another scant 3/4 cup flour. Using your hands, fold and press the dough until the flour is incorporated. Add two dustings of flour to the work surface and dough and repeat. If the dough still feels sticky, repeat once more, this time covering both the table and the dough with no more than 2 tablespoons flour.
  7. Roll the dough into a compact log. Dust the outside with flour, then allow the dough to rest for about 5 minutes. Dust the work surface lightly with flour. Divide the log into 8 pieces. Roll each section into a cylinder about 1/2" thick. Using floured knife or pastry cutter, cut the dough into gnocchi about 1" long.
  8. Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Working in two or three batches, drop the gnocchi into the water and cook, stirring occasionally, until they float, 2 to 3 minutes. Retrieve the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and put them on a baking sheet or plate. While the gnocchi cook, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sage and season with salt and pepper. Allow the butter to brown slightly, about 4 minutes. Add the gnocchi to the browned butter and remove the pan from the heat. Mix gently and serve topped with Parmigiano.

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soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Allah

    Allah will destroy the US. once your ape of a "president" destroys other countries, he will ruin your economy. You child will weep at night and you shall spend years at the bread line. America is screwed. All praise Allah

    September 18, 2011 at 3:52 am |
    • Debbie2008

      Sounds like someone needs a hug.

      October 1, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  2. VE

    My family didn't have the gnocchi tradition- in fact, I didn't even know what Gnocchi were until I was an adult- I've had some excellent gnocchi at a few restaurants, so I think it's high time I tried to make them myself- Chef Canora's tips seem invaluable to someone trying to get off to a good start, thanks!

    September 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  3. K

    I had the good fortune of living in Northern Italy (Friuli) for 4 glorious years. My landlord was – aside from a wonderful human being – retired after 40 years as a cook in a mensa (a cafeteria-type restaurant that feeds large numbers of people lunch – usually local workers). She taught me how to make gnocchi in her kitchen, and it was delicious! The two ingredients she used that are missing from this reciep are freshly grated noce moscata (nutmeg) and a splash of grappa! Try it, coupled with a simple ragu, insalata mista, cab, and good friends/family! Buon Appetito!!!!

    September 12, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  4. Laura

    Gnocchi is one of my favourite Italian foods. I make a super-simple version, that I'm sure is not as tasty as these but does work in a pinch: 1 carton of ricotta cheese + 1 cup of flour. Mix it all together, roll out into the ropes, chop 'em up, boil 'em and add your sauce. Still pretty delish!

    September 12, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Freda

      Cool, thanks!!

      September 12, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  5. Gnocchi quest

    Thanks for this info. I used to watch and help my Nona make these scrumptious things but she always "gnocced" them. After she'd cut them into little bits we would kinda roll a little pocket of air into them using our two fingers how come you didn't do this or is this just for tough dough??

    September 11, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • Natalie

      I agree with your rendition to make a little indentation, or even, like my grandma did, to roll a fork gently over the surface as I taught my kids in cooking class here in Romania to do. It makes for a nice bite. We also made pumpkin gnocchi and ricotta and herb gnocchi.

      September 12, 2011 at 7:53 am |
  6. Louisa

    Gnocchi recipes always say to cook the gnocchi until they float, just 2-3 minutes, but I respectfully disagree. For one thing, they start to float almost immediately in a rolling boil, well before they are properly cooked. I like to boil mine longer. I can't say precisely how much longer, but it's longer than 2-3 minutes. I decide by taste testing. I'm not going for light little airy pillow things. I like my gnocchi to be denser and have some tooth to them, more like al dente pasta.

    I boil my potatoes and mash them after they have cooled in the fridge with minimal egg but enough flour to keep the dough manageable and not too sticky. Never forget to add ground nutmeg to the potato dough. I then roll a handful at a time into ropes before cutting them into bite-sized pieces and dropping them into boiling water. I then put them in a baking dish with melted butter and shredded fontina and bake until the dish develops those wonderful brown spots that make you ache to eat them. I got my recipe from a wonderful Italian recipe book, with my only deviation being the boiling time of the gnocchi. If you are fussy about carbs or calories, this isn't for you, but potatoes are a lot more nutritious than many people think and the result is to delicious you can give up the diet for one meal.

    Gnocchi is a labor intensive dish, for when you have a few hours to devote to rolling and cutting and boiling. It's so worth it. In fact, I might dedicate next Sunday to making gnocchi. It's been too long.

    September 11, 2011 at 5:35 am |
    • kateslate

      Well, that is YOUR recipe for all to enjoy. The article was about another person's recipe. Recipes are not for us to agree on or disagree. You do it THIS way, I do it THAT way. It's all good.....

      September 11, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • The Boil

      You are not supposed to drop them in rolling boiling water. Also, the reason why you dont want your gnocchi dense is because it limits what you could fill them with. You dont want a dense gnocchi with a dense filling – does not make for a good combo.

      September 11, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
  7. excrementaleducation

    These potato pillows would be perfect for backpackers. Providing comfort for your head as you sleep, totally biodegradable, and a great snack without getting up in the middle of the night.

    September 10, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  8. Maria

    Chef Michael Chiarello from Napa, California has a gnocchi recipe that I ever made.

    September 10, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  9. Karen

    eye rolling pleasure bombs

    September 9, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • Russ

      They're real and they're spectacular!

      September 10, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
      • kateslate

        Teri, is that YOU??

        September 11, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  10. Gina

    I am sorry Sue :) but your grandmother's gnocchi could not have been better than my mother' mother has been making them for 102 YEARS, yes she is 102 !!!!!!!! and she still makes them , the older she gets the better they come out......light and fluffy like elisabetha says!!!!! I've been meaning to make of video of her making them.....but haven't yet.....I was going to send a video to the cooking channel once. And the sauce she makes to go with them is also to die for. Anybody that wants the recipe can email me at

    September 9, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • I don't THINK so...

      She started making gnocchi as soon as she was born?

      September 9, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • Frank S

      That's clearly an overexaggeration. The only thing your mom was making 100 years ago was a boom-boom in her diapers.

      September 10, 2011 at 3:22 am |
      • RD

        Frank, of COURSE this is an over exaggeration, but I CAN see her Grandma 'helping' in the kitchen by the time she's two years old... therefore the statement off by a measly two years. Too picky, Bro! OH, I am immediately e-mailing for this recipe too! I absolutely agree with including the nutmeg as an essential ingredient! I hope the video of Grandma gets made quickly as she is no longer a Spring Chicken. I can't WAIT to see a master Gnocchi maker in action!
        Northridge, Ca.

        September 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • liz cain

      sounds great so lets have the recipe...thanks

      September 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  11. SuperFoodie

    Too bad potatoes are one of the worst foods you can eat unless you are in tip top shape. Nothing but sugar and lots of it. More in one plain baked potato then in a straight teaspoon of sugar. It also spikes your blood sugar level almost as fast as possible which is never good.

    Skip the spuds and find something else.

    September 9, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Sari in Vegas

      Superfoodie: or eat it before a long day of hiking, when some simple carbs are okay.... It's all a balancing act.

      September 9, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
      • Julie

        Oh you silly superfoodie you – don't you know lide is too short to worry about eating a bit of fine potato?
        That's all right. More for the rest of us.

        September 10, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • xavi

      To SuperFoodie, aka Safety Joe: Be brave. Take risks. Jump over a puddle once in a while, and you will discover that the world is full of risks:)

      September 9, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • raggedhand

      OMG...get a life and a sense of humor.

      Food is not medicine. Life is not a final exam. Enjoying both is not a sin.

      September 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Andy

      Maybe people need to educate themselves on the nutritional value of potatoes before they make fools of themselves. To equate a potato with granulated sugar is lunacy.

      September 10, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Wastrel

      Yes, but the green bean gnocchi are just plain stupid.

      September 11, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • kateslate

      You must factor in fiber and nutrients before coming to drastic conclusions such as this. The lowly potato is chock full of good stuff too!

      September 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Mary-Ann

      You can skip the potatoes and then they become Cavatelli. Also, these are made with rolling a small indentation with your finger. different pasta but equally as good.

      September 12, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • Ding-a-ling@SF

      Maybe you will find a brain in your search.

      September 12, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  12. Margret

    Always wanted to try making these-thanks for the recipe & instructions!

    September 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  13. Sue

    I would love to find a recipe for my grandmother's gnocchi. My grandmother was from udine, Italy, and made the best gnocchi I have ever eaten. When I was very young, she used potatoes and flour like the recipe here. Later, probably in the mid to late 1970's, she started using instant potatoes – I assume instant mashed potatoes. I cannot tell you how wonderful the gnocchi were after the switch. It was still an art and there was never a written recipe. Unfortunately I was not interested in cooking at that time and did not learn. I still have never had gnocchi like those since my grandmother passed away in the 80's.

    September 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • elisabetta

      I am from Udine, Italy and I now reside in the US. The recipe for the gnocchi is slghtly different than the recipe printed here. The potapoes are boiled then riced; their texture is much lighter and fluffy. Let me know if you want the instructions.

      September 9, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
      • Carlos

        Elisabetta, I would love to see your recipe. My best friend uses his grandmothers recipe from San Marino.
        I'd love to have a great recipe to finally have a gnocchi cook off with him. ;-)

        September 9, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
      • Joy

        Please send instructions for your Gnocchi

        September 12, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  14. jimmy

    You can watch Marco prepare them here

    September 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Debbie2008

      Invaluable. Thank you.

      October 1, 2011 at 10:19 am |
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