Gnocchi: Is it done, or undercooked?

I gnow gnothing about gnocchi. I can’t tell if I’m doing things right or wrong because of inexperience. So I have a very specific question, and I hope it makes sense. Using vacuum-packed supermarket ordinary potato gnocchi, how can I tell, without knowing how they were cooked, whether they’re “done” or “not done”? I’m talking about testing the finished dish, not about cooking instructions.

(If my question is a mistake because “It depends” is the only answer to what I’ve written, then I guess I’ll need to know that. Sorry again if it doesn’t make sense.)

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Cooked gnocchi will float. Should take 3 or 4 minutes. i.e., gnocchi are done when they float.

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In theory, yes. But I’ve experienced some, especially artisan ones, when they floated, they were too cooked and mashy. Maybe just cook one to test how that brand works?

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If I think you mean “what it’s supposed to taste like when done” then take a small bite and find out if the softness or firmness is to your liking. Cook longer if you like it very soft, but I don’t recommend it. It’s nicer al dente.

And how do you plan to eat it? I find this thing bland (especially commercially made kind). I make my own Austrian potato dumplings from the very same dough formed in a different shape, but Austrians eat them with delicious bits. I never touch gnocchi or eat it the Italian ways.

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This has long been my problem with vacuum packed potato gnocchi. When Are they done? What should I be looking for in the finished product? When mine float they’re not what I would call “done” all the way through. But Presunto has now answered my Q’s.

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Thank you, but that’s cooking instructions - I’m asking about a finished dish, not how to cook them.

I cook them until they float, then place them spread out in a dish and into the fridge for an hour. Then I give them a quick pan-fry in butter in cast iron. They crisp nicely. Just add a little salt and pepper and you have a crunchy side to switch things up if you are bored with the usual starches like potato, rice, pasta, etc.

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Yes :slight_smile: but I’m not asking how to cook them, I’m asking how to take a finished dish on the table and know whether I think the gnocchi are done enough, regardless of how they were cooked.

Yes, you are exactly right that I mean “How is it supposed to taste (and feel) when it’s done”.

What you’re describing sounds to me like I should judge it the same way I would judge plain wheat pasta such as spaghetti, that it should be soft enough to eat, preferably without a hard piece in the centre, but if overdone it will be mushy. (And I do understand from what I’ve read that gnocchi can become mushy much too easily.)

Do you think I’m starting to get the right idea?

How I plan to eat it: I’ve cooked it before and I also thought it was boring. So I’m probably going to have it American style, i.e. with far too much sauce. :slight_smile:

You keep differentiating between “cooking instructions” and “how is it supposed to taste and feel when it’s done” and they’re more overlapping answers than independent.

It’s supposed to taste and feel firm but not mushy. But it will differ by type and brand. If you salt the water enough, the salt/flavor will be different than not - more than with other pasta.

However you can change the method of cooking and get a different (better imo) outcome too - pan-fry the gnocchi first, then splash in water or sauce, cover, and finish cooking to the texture you like (pre-mush) - the sear helps texture and the ability to hold together, and if you use broth or sauce, the flavor penetrates differently.

A question I should have asked earlier is - how do you like the gnocchi you have eaten that you have not cooked - in texture, flavor, and saucing? Because that will influence the answer you are in search of here.

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I’ve found it odd, and sometimes sticky feeling inside. I’m asking because I’m not used to it. Maybe a better way to say this is I want tasting instructions. The cooking instructions aren’t helping me much, because even if I follow the instructions I don’t have a way to tell if I’ve succeeded. Like giving a bread recipe to someone who’s never seen bread.

Then I think it’s a good idea to find out for sure… buy several different brands and cook a small test batch, take notes of time and texture and don’t forget the brands.

Every brand uses different ratios of potato, flour and who knows what else they put in it. The actual gnocchi should only have very few ingredients: flour, potatoes, eggs. Sometimes potato starch is also listed but it’s only in small quantities. This ingredient helps hold the shape of many types of dumplings and fillings.

Same dough, different name, different shape, and served Austrian (and Swabian)-style:


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My personal favourite, Swabian-style. Dumplings fried in hot rendered Speck fat (you can use smoked bacon), served with crispy fried Speck and Sauerkraut.

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This looks beautiful!

Someday I may try to make my own, but I’m a slow learner so I’d probably make a lot of Schimpfnudeln before I got any Schupfnudeln. :slight_smile:

Agreed.

I find it tricky to get supermarket gnocchi to the right texture, so I’ve started roasting them, which requires no boiling (I’m serious!) and provides the delightful texture of a rough-surfaced outside and a chewy middle.

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For sure… but how do you tell when those are done? :slight_smile:

I can take a stack of cold potatoes, some that were fully cooked and some that were only half cooked, and reliably sort them into “done” and “not done” by poking them with a fork - even if some were baked and others were boiled. By cutting a cake and looking at it, I can tell you if it’s done or not. I know a couple of different rough tests for when chicken is done, plus using a thermometer. But give me a pile of cold gnocchi in which some are fully cooked and some are half cooked, and I don’t know how to tell, unless “soft but not mushy” is all there is to it.

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Beautiful as always. Do you ever teach cooking classes? Did I miss that info at any point? It’s your technique that blows my mind. The photos so vivid.

That or photography classes. Or both.

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Nobody knows how to tell? Nobody knows how they like their gnocchi? I’m just inexperienced, I’m not trying to be obtuse. (In another thread I used the example of how to tell when toast is done, saying that even though there are variables and personal preference involved, it’s still relatively easy to explain.)

If this thread is any indication, I’m glad I missed the toast discussion.

Where do you see an actual direct answer in this thread? Or even an attempt at one? (There’s lots of indirect and unfocused talking about other things…) It’s such an easy question for any person who has half a clue. I don’t have a clue about gnocchi, and I’m just asking for a little help.