Upgrade Gnocchi By Roasting Them, Not Boiling Them

When you think of pasta, that heavenly, belly-filling carb, the obvious cooking method that comes to mind is boiling, right? You do the whole thing — salt the water, boil it, cook the pasta to al dente, and then you start making your dish. That's just how you do pasta. But what if it's not the only way?

We've all heard of no-boil pasta, which you can use in baked dishes like lasagna or cook right into your sauce. And St. Louis is famous for toasted ravioli (per Culture Trip), which are seasoned cheese-filled pockets that aren't boiled at all but deep fried. Heck, people are even making pasta chips in the air fryer these days.

It turns out that pasta is the gift that keeps on giving, and there are innovative ways to prepare it that involve thinking outside the box (and its directions). We all know potatoes roast beautifully, so why not try roasting gnocchi?

How to roast your gnocchi to perfection

There are a few qualifiers for this mouth-wateringly delicious meal to work. First, if you want to roast pasta, stick to gnocchi – and specifically the store-bought kind. Why? Well, when you boil freshly homemade gnocchi, it's meant to be fluffy and dumpling-like, but when you boil the store-bought kind (whether it's a refrigerated package, shelf-stable, or frozen) it tends to get fairly soft or rubbery (per Bake or Buy?). However, it turns out that this store-bought texture lends itself perfectly to the magic of the oven.

The Kitchn explains that when the gnocchi is roasted, the outside becomes golden brown and crisp, similar to roasted potatoes, while the inside of the dumpling keeps its soft, tender texture. And who doesn't like a crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside combo, even when it comes to pasta?

To roast the gnocchi, all you have to do is toss them in some olive oil with any seasonings or herbs you prefer and pop them into the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for around 20 minutes. You can also combine them with various vegetables and roast everything together for an easy one-pan meal. It'll taste delicious, and you'll never boil your store-bought gnocchi again.

Tips for making homemade gnocchi

Gnocchi is one of those kinds of pasta that many are a bit intimidated to make from scratch; even though these pillowy dumplings seem simple enough and only require a few ingredients, it's tricky to get them just right. But if you decide to be ambitious and make your own gnocchi at home (go you!), there are a few mistakes to avoid to help ensure success. 

If you're going for the traditional potato gnocchi, first, be careful not to over-boil your potatoes. DeLallo explains that you don't want them to absorb too much water, and that's why you'll want to keep the skins on when you boil as well, and then peel them. The flour-to-potato ratio is also important because using too much flour will cause your gnocchi to turn out tough or dense.

Don't be afraid to use your hands. DeLallo states that kneading is the most crucial step in the whole gnocchi-making process. You'll want to knead with some muscle, but just enough so that the flour, potatoes, and eggs come together loosely for a light and airy dough; if you overwork it, the dough may turn out too gooey or thick, which brings us back to that dense gnocchi. Try these tips for perfect pillowy pasta, and then roast or boil at your discretion.