The Big Mistake You're Making While Cooking Gnocchi

It's hard to resist a plate or bowl of perfectly crafted gnocchi. When done right, this Italian staple is pillowy, soft, and the perfect base for a wide variety of different sauces and fresh ingredients. It's also a fantastic choice when you want to whip up a meal in a hurry, as the small size and lightness of the dough mean it takes mere moments to cook — you'll be plating up a mouthwatering meal in no time at all.

There's just one problem — gnocchi can be a bit finicky, especially for beginners. When the texture is spot-on gnocchi is sublime, but it's easy to make errors that yield a rubbery final product or one that crumbles apart and doesn't hold its shape. Luckily, since all you typically need are potatoes and flour, as La Cucina Italiana states, you're not ruining a bunch of expensive ingredients if your batch doesn't turn out quite right.

There are a lot of potential mistakes you might be making as the Italian culinary website outlines, starting from the ingredients themselves. You might be using the wrong kind of potatoes, you might be adding in entirely too much flour, or you might be boiling the potatoes the wrong amount of time, just to name a few. The biggest mistake, though, is something that happens when you're cooking the pillowy pieces of pasta. That's right — even if your dough is absolutely flawless, you could end up ruining it in the execution.

Don't allow your water to boil too strongly

You've spent some time mixing up the gnocchi dough exactly according to the recipe specifications, you've carefully shaped the small pieces of pasta, you have your sauce or accompanying ingredients prepared in another saucepan, and you're ready to cook the gnocchi and finish everything up. So, just as you would do when making any other kind of fresh or dried pasta, you get a pot of water to a roaring boil and then plop in your gnocchi, right? Wrong.

As Real Simple explains, one of the biggest mistakes you could make with gnocchi is bringing that water to a ferociously bubbling boil. While it works with pasta that is a bit more hardy, gnocchi is just too delicate for that kind of atmosphere. Instead, they recommend either a strong simmer or a light boil. It only takes two or three minutes to cook the delicate pasta anyway, so they'll still be ready incredibly quickly and won't run the risk of breaking apart in the water.

You'll know the gnocchi are ready when they float to the surface of your strongly simmering or gently boiling water — at that point, Real Simple recommends waiting about 15 to 30 seconds and then removing them, popping them right into whatever sauce you're pairing with the gnocchi. This simple adjustment to your cooking technique should help you create perfect gnocchi, every time.