Hooray! I managed to make homemade gnocchi (with just one phone call to my mom). And it’s good. I could definitely serve this Homemade Gnocchi with Pancetta, Mushrooms, and Sage to a special guest (like my mom).
My first batch (sans egg) was a pasty disaster. It was dry and…just wrong. I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but it reminded me of the mix you’d make as a kid to shape into ornaments. You know. Out of flour, water, and salt. Remember?
I hadn’t made (or should I say, helped make) gnocchi since I was a kid helping my mom. I really wanted to make my own and didn’t want to wait for my next visit with my mom. My first-batch failure spurred me on, so I carved out a little time to dedicate to this dish.
I had a good time making this gnocchi – it’s a very tactile process. I mixed the dough with my hands before I rolled it out into ropes, and cut it into pieces. My favorite part was rolling the individual pieces down the back of a fork to create little ridges to help hold the sauce. I remember I loved that part when I was a kid, too.
It’s actually very simple to make homemade gnocchi. It just takes a bit of time. I paired this gnocchi with a simple butter sauce that includes crisp pancetta, mushrooms, and sage. The flavor combo couldn’t be better. The salty pancetta combined with the bright sage to enhance the earthy mushrooms. If you’re not on a budget, use chanterelle mushrooms. Otherwise, try oyster mushrooms, or use cremini mushrooms like I did.
The sauce is rich, but not heavy, and each forkful delivers crispiness to complement the soft, fluffy gnocchi.
Homemade Gnocchi with Pancetta, Mushrooms, and Sage
- 3 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed into uniform, 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup all-purpose baking flour, plus extra to dust the work surface
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus extra to season the cooking water for the gnocchi
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup pancetta pieces
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6-8 sage leaves
- Boil the potato until fork tender. Drain and mash thoroughly. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cold.
- Add the flour to a bowl along with the salt. Whisk to combine.
- Transfer half the flour, the potato, and the egg to a separate bowl and mix with a wooden spoon (or your hands). Add the remaining flour to the mixture and continue to combine until it’s completely incorporated.
- Dust a flat work surface with a bit of the extra flour. Turn the dough onto the surface and cut into quarters. Roll each quarter into a 1-inch-thick rope. Use a sharp knife to cut the rope into 1-1/4-inch pieces, slightly longer than wide.
- One at a time, use your thumb to press and roll each piece of dough down the backside of a fork. This will curl your pieces slightly, and create grooves in the gnocchi. If you need to, roll each piece in just a bit of flour. Set aside.
- Add the 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the pancetta and cook just until crisp. Use a spoon to remove the pancetta and place in a bowl to the side.
- Add the mushrooms to the skillet used to cook the pancetta, still on medium heat. Add the black pepper and toss. Cook the mushrooms for about 4 minutes, or until they release their juices. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Work in batches and add about 20 gnocchi at a time to the pot. When the gnocchi float to the top of the pot, cook for an additional 2 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon. Continue until finished.
- Wipe the skillet clean and place over low heat. When hot, add the butter. Cook until the butter just begins to brown. Add the sage leaves and turn off the heat. Toss in the mushrooms and pancetta, followed by the gnocchi. Toss to coat.
- Serve warm.