I absolutely love Gnocchi, especially homemade Gnocchi, however something I often miss when eating it is texture, since, at its best, Gnocchi should be soft and pillowy and the sauces and accompaniments don’t often add much of a crisp or crunch.
I’m obsessed with using Panko Bread Crumbs on fish, fishcakes or even pasta bakes as it adds the most delicious crunch. So why not add it to Gnocchi right? It not only adds texture but flavour as well.
Please feel free to use shop bought Gnocchi. That would make this a super quick meal, taking only around 10 minutes to prepare. I love making mine from scratch though since it just doesn’t compare, so I have included the recipe below in case you’d like to try it.
If not, please skip down that section of the recipe and begin from where you cook the Gnocchi.
Please note that you can also prepare the Gnocchi ahead of time. For a vegan version just omit the Parmesan at the end.
Crispy Homemade Gnocchi with Herby Peas
- 500 Grams Floury Potatoes Unpeeled
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ Cup All-Purpose or "00" Farina Flour (approx. 55g) Plus most for dusting
- 4 – 5 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
- ½ Cup Panko Bread Crumbs You can use normal dried breadcrumbs but Panko is lighter and crispier
- 2 tsp Dried Italian Herb Mix, divided
- 1 Cup Peas Fresh or frozen
- 1 Clove of garlic Crushed
- Knob of butter Optional
- Fresh Basil (finely chopped) for serving Optional
- Grated Parmesan for serving Optional
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Place the whole potatoes, in their skins (do not pierce) on a baking tray and bake for 1 – 1¼ hours (depending on the size of the potatoes) until tender the whole way through
- Leave to cool for around 10 – 15 minutes and then cut in half and remove the flesh from the skins (ideally while still warm). Pass the potatoes through a ricer (a potato ricer works best, but if you do not have one mash until smooth)
- Season with salt then add 50g of flour and mix to form a dough. If it's too sticky, add a little more flour, but only a tablespoon at a time – too much makes the dough heavy. Be careful not to overwork it or the dough will end up too dense and won’t expand when it goes into the water
- Dust a tray with flour and cut the dough into 6. Working one piece at a time, roll the dough into a log around 1,5cm thick
- Use a lightly floured knife or bench scraper to cut the logs into 2cm pieces. Place on the lined tray, making sure the gnocchi don't touch each other*
- Optional step: Gently roll, 1 at a time, over the back of a lightly floured fork or butter pat (the ridges will help sauce cling to the gnocchi). Alternatively just push the centre down a little with a finger to make a little well/dent/divot
- In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat, then add the Panko Bread Crumbs and 1 teaspoon of herbs. Mix through until the crumbs are well coated. When they begin to turn golden, remove from the stove and set aside for use later
- In the meantime, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil
- Return the pan to the heat and add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the crushed garlic, peas and another teaspoon of herbs. Then season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, then when the garlic has softened and the peas are almost cooked, remove from the pan and set aside
- Gently place the gnocchi in the boiling water a few at a time. Work quickly but gently as not to squash them. Give the water a quick gently stir just to make sure the Gnocchi doesn't stick to the bottom, but taking care not to damage them, then leave them to cook. Simmer for about 1½ – 2 minutes until they start to float
- Place the pan back on the heat with another tablespoon or two of olive oil and bring to a medium to medium-high heat. If you want a richer finish you can add a knob of butter if you wish
- When the Gnocchi rise to the surface of the water, count slowly to 10 and remove with them with a slotted spoon, ensuring that you drain off any excess water, and place directly into the hot pan of olive oil. Work quickly. When all the Gnocchi has been transferred to the pan, give the pan a shake every minute or so to prevent them from sticking and to ensure they fry evenly. I don't use a spoon to stir as this breaks up the Gnocchi
- When the Gnocchi is nicely sealed (it only takes a minute or two), sprinkle over the Panko Bread Crumbs and give it another shake to coat them. Then add back the peas and toss everything together gently
- Remove from the heat and sprinkle over some freshly chopped basil if you wish. Serve with some grated Parmesan