Potato Parmesan Gnocchi Sous Vide

Sous vide parmesan gnocchi

It can be argued that gnocchi (pronounced N’YAW-kee) are the forerunner of what we today call pasta. Simply defined, gnocchi are small dumplings and are one of the oldest preparations in the history of food, recorded as far back as the cookbooks of the thirteenth century.

Gnocchi can be made with a myriad of ingredients, such as squash, bread, and semolina flour. Flavors can be added by mixing the dough with spinach, saffron, and even truffles. After they are cooked, usually boiled in water or broth, like pasta, they are generally sauced. Take your pick, pesto, tomato, butter, and cheese are common culinary culprits. Not to be forgotten are the “semolina gnocchi” of Rome, served casserole style topped with cheese and baked or the “gnocchi gnudi” (“naked gnocchi”) from Tuscany, made of ricotta cheese and spinach.

Today, gnocchi are commonly made with potatoes, which has become traditional in Italy and well as a staple here in my home. Sous Vide is my preferred technique for precooking the potatoes as when the potatoes are dry rather than boiled; they need far less flour to form coherent dough. The more flour that’s added creates a heavier dumpling. The Sous Vide technique also offers a stronger potato flavor as the potatoes aren’t diluted in water and lastly it’s just more convenient.

Lumps are the bane of a quality gnocchi, which is why I choose using a ricer. This essential kitchen tool gets its name from the tiny, rice-shaped pieces it produces. Another enemy of gnocchi is kneading. Keep in mind to work the dough by hand (I like having my pastry scraper to help) until it just comes together. The potatoes need enough flour to make dough that is not sticky and that will roll easily but not too much to become leaden.

After the gnocchi are cut you can roll cut the pieces on a textured board or large dinner fork for a patterned consistency. These look beautiful and culinary history maintains the grooves and ridges hold the sauce better. I’ve done both and frankly don’t see it but they do look good! I get my girls into the kitchen on a lazy weekend and we make a few big batches of gnocchi for dinner the bountiful excess are individually portioned and vacuum packed then refrigerated or frozen for use anytime we have a craving.

Gnocchi and Sous Vide, one of the oldest culinary recipes and one of the newest culinary techniques - a match made in heaven!


Parmesan Gnocchi Ingredients

• 5 large Idaho or russet style potatoes

• 2 large eggs, whole, beaten

• 1 cup Parmesan Regiano, grated

• 3-4 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached

• 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or as needed

• Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

For serving:

• Unsalted "sweet” butter, as needed

• Parmesan Regiano, as needed


Peeling potatoes

1. Heat the VacMaster SV1 to 90°C/194°F   

2. Peel the potatoes and laying them on their side cut them lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices. Stack the slices and cut them again lengthwise into sticks then cut across the sticks resulting in a medium to large dice.

3. Using appropriately sized VacMaster bag(s) add the potatoes in one thin even layer and using a VacMaster suction or chamber machine vacuum seal the potatoes.

4. Gently place into the SV1 water bath and cook for 45 minutes and up to 1 hour or as necessary until the potatoes are extremely tender and easily crushed by your finger.

Putting potatoes through ricer

5. Carefully remove the hot potatoes from the bag and immediately push through potato ricer or food mill evenly spreading the potatoes onto parchment lined baking sheet(s) taking extra care not to compact them.

6. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled inside and out and repeat with remaining potatoes

7. After the potatoes are thoroughly chilled, transfer to a clean work surface.

8. Pour the beaten eggs and sprinkle the cheese and salt over the cooled potatoes then dust with 3 cups of the flour keeping the fourth handy if needed.

9. Using both hands begin to crumble the potato flour mixture between your fingers until all ingredients are thoroughly distributed.

Sliced gnocchi dough

10. Begin to bring the dough together using a pastry scrapper or similar into a dry homogeneous mass being careful not to knead or compact the dough unnecessarily.

11. The dough should feel slightly moist, but not tacky. If too tacky, add more flour sparingly.

12. Using your hands gently form the dough into a large log.

13. Using a pastry scrapper or similar cut slices off the log and using your open hands begin to roll each slice into long ropes that are about 1-inch in thickness.

14. Cut the ropes into 1/2 to 1 inch lengths.

ready to cook gnocchi

15. Place the gnocchi in a single layer on a sheet tray(s) lightly dusted with the remaining flour to prevent sticking

16. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil.

17. Transfer the gnocchi to the boiling water. Stir gently with a spider or slotted spoon to prevent sticking. When the gnocchi begin to float to the surface, wait at least 30 seconds and up to a minute to fully cook through.

18. If serving immediately toss the hot gnocchi in a large skillet over medium-high heat with a bit of butter and some of the cooking water. Sauté a bit, then carefully spoon gnocchi into serving dishes and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

19. If preparing the gnocchi in advance drain the gnocchi from the boiling water and place on baking sheets drizzled with olive oil, place in the refrigerator and chill thoroughly.

gnocchi20. Portion the chilled gnocchi as suits you into appropriately sized VacMaster bags and using a VacMaster chamber or suction machine vacuum seal.

21. Refrigerate until needed.