Gnocchi is one of the fanciest and most delicious Italian dishes closest to my heart. Whenever I want to impress any guest, I always go for some freshly cooked luscious Gnocchi.
I know you are probably wondering how I have the time to make fresh gnocchi from scratch every time I crave them. You are right. I don’t! I rely on cooking my store frozen gnocchi. Yup. Gnocchi can be frozen and enjoyed just like the freshly made ones. In fact, this is my secret that saves me a lot of time, effort, and allows me to enjoy this flavorful dish.
I am here to tell you exactly how to freeze Gnocchi. And the difference between freezing the cooked and uncooked ones, as well as, all the tips you need to guarantee a perfectly frozen Gnocchi with every bit of taste and texture retained.
How to freeze homemade gnocchi:
Nothing beats freshly kneaded homemade Gnocchi, and there is no one that can convince me otherwise. Call it a passion or whatever, but I love to make my Gnocchi from scratch just the way I like it. And because freezing is just the best option ever, I tend to make a lot and freeze them for later.
Steps of freezing:
- Start by spreading the freshly kneaded gnocchi on a plate.
- Transfer the plate to the freezer. Leave it for about an hour or two.
- Once the gnocchis hold their shape and cool enough, move them into a freezer bag and return the bag back to the freezer.
One more surprise for you is that you won’t have to defrost frozen Gnocchis before warming them up. In fact, you won’t have to do anything except throw them straight from the freezer to the pot filled with boiling water. It shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes for them to float on the surface of the water as a sign of doneness.
Now that we have had a glimpse of the basic steps of freezing the raw Gnocchi, time to discuss what to do with the leftover –already- cooked Gnocchi.
How to freeze cooked gnocchi:
I usually prefer to freeze raw gnocchi since it can stay in the freezer for up to 3 months, unlike the cooked one, which can only withstand 1 to 3 weeks maximum. However, I, sometimes, find myself with some extra cooked Gnocchi that I prefer to store than throw away.
Steps of freezing the cooked Gnocchi:
- Allow your cooked gnocchi to cool down to room temperature before you attempt to freeze it.
- Spread the cooled gnocchi on a baking tray, then transfer the tray to the freezer for 3 hours.
- Once they hold their shape in the freezer, transfer them to a freezer bag that should be tightly sealed, or an airtight container to prevent them from soaking any smell from the other frozen food.
The same steps can be followed even if your Gnocchi has some cheese or sauce toppings.
- Don’t skip the step of heating the mashed potatoes, as potatoes need to be somehow dry for them to hold the gnocchi shape and not be too soggy.
- Flour is good for gnocchi, but too much flour can dry it up. So, be careful!
- It is recommended to boil the potatoes with their skin intact, as this can reduce the amount of water absorbed by the potatoes during the boiling process.
- Mash the potatoes while they are still hot to ensure a smooth and fluffy texture.
Frequently asked questions:
Here are some of the questions that people wonder about regarding this topic. Hope this might help you if you are still wondering about some of the points mentioned.
How long can Gnocchi be frozen for?
Optimally, it can stay in the freezer for 1 to 2 months. However, leaving them for 3 months is also acceptable, but avoid exceeding the 3 months or else they will start losing their taste and texture.
Can you freeze gnocchi dough?
Yes, you totally can. It doesn’t require any more steps than the ones mentioned for freezing ready-shaped Gnocchi. However, it is not recommended at all, as it is more tedious and time-consuming to wait for the whole dough to defrost first so that you can shape it. Instead, you can just go right ahead and cook the ready-shaped ones.
Do you need to thaw gnocchi prior to reheating?
Never try to thaw the Gnocchi before cooking it or you will risk the falling apart of the dough itself. It will even save you more time to just take it straight from the freezer to a pot filled with salted boiling water. It won’t take more than a few minutes to cook perfectly.
Why is it best to freeze gnocchi when still uncooked?
Usually, it is not recommended to store already cooked Gnocchi in the freezer, simply because, there is a higher chance for it to break apart once reheated after freezing. Also, raw gnocchi tend to stay for a longer time in the freezer than already cooked ones.
Step by step guide on How to Freeze raw Gnocchi:
- 1 Kg of equal-sized starchy potatoes (Preferably king Edward potatoes)
- 200 grams of flour (set some extra flour on the side for dusting)
- 2 tablespoons of fine sea salt
- A pinch of grated nutmeg
- A generous knob of butter
- Some finely chopped parsley
- 4 tablespoons of freshly beaten eggs
- Add a pinch of salt in a large pot filled with water, put the potatoes inside the pot, then place the pot on high heat so that the water can boil. Wait until the potatoes cook. It should take about 25 – 30 minutes. Check their doneness by stabbing the potatoes with a thin knife, If they are soft from their centers, then you are good to go.
- Drain the water after taking the potatoes off the heat. Peel each potato, then start mashing them using a potato ricer, or a sieve and a wooden spoon.
- Return the mashed potatoes to the pot and put it on low heat for a few minutes to dry off the extra water.
- Mix the dry ingredients together (flour, nutmeg, salt) in a large bowl. Pour the mashed potatoes into the bowl, then start mixing everything together to create a smooth and homogenous mixture.
- Create a hollow center with your spoon, then pour the beaten eggs inside it. Continue mixing until everything combines. Some light mixing should do the trick. Don’t overdo it or else the mixture will turn more tough and dry.
- Start spreading the dough after flouring the surface you are going to work on, so that the dough doesn’t stick. Shape the dough with your hands into an 18cm square with a 1.5cm thickness. Slice the square into about 12 equal strips, then shape each strip into sausage shapes with your hands. Finally, cut the long strips into about 1-cm long shapes.
- Make the signature Gnocchi shape by pressing each short sausage strip on the back of the fork tines, rolling it down the tines, then removing it gently. Flour is your best friend in every step. That’s why you should remember to dust the fork with flour every once in a while, and also dust the tray that you are going to place the Gnocchi on with some flour before you do so.
- Align the Gnocchi on the tray so that they are not touching each other. Make sure the tray fits the freezer.
- Place the tray filled with Gnocchi in the freezer and let it freeze for a few hours.
- Take it off the freezer and transfer it to either freezer bags, or an airtight container. Leave them for whenever needed.
- To cook the frozen Gnocchi, take them off the freezer and straight to a pot filled with boiling water, one or two handfuls of the Gnocchi at a time. Wait for them to rise to the surface, then fish them out of the water. Drain them. Serve with a knob of butter and some chopped parsley. Enjoy!