Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin/Squash) Italian Gnocchi – Super easy and egg-free!

These delicious little dumplings made with sweet potato, pumpkin or butternut squash mash in the authentic Italian style, served with melted butter and sage are so awesome and have so much flavour that you might want to make them every week! And they’re so simple with very few ingredients (egg-free!) and quick to make too! A keeper I would say!


Sweet potato gnocchi squash pumpkin italian

In Italy the most common Gnocchi are made with potato (follow this link for my best rated Potato Gnocchi recipe ever) but you can find them made with lots of other ingredients such as spinach, beetroot, squid ink, nettle, chestnut flour, cocoa powder and so on.

My favourite Gnocchi are made with “Zucca” (pron. zouh-kkuh) and that is the word we use to call every kind of pumpkin or squashes. So when you find an Italian recipe with pumpkin as an ingredient you need to remember that we may call it pumpkin but we use only those sweet or super sweet varieties that you mostly call squash (like Kabocha squash or the Italian wrinkled Butternut squash that is sweeter than the smooth one).

So if you are in Italy you won’t have any problem in finding the right one, they are all almost sweet, whether green or orange, and just when we are near Halloween you can find those round and big to make Jack O’ lantern, that are used only as a decoration.

best authentic italian gnocchi

When in January I moved to Brighton UK I was so sad that all the Butternut squashes were not sweet as the ones we have in Italy and I thought I couldn’t replicate all the delicious Italian “Zucca” recipes, until I found the orange Sweet Potato… uh, what a relief! It’s really a perfect substitute! (I didn’t know that kind of variety, because in Italy we have only the white sweet potato that differs from the orange one).

So if you want to make Squash Gnocchi that taste like the Italian ones use orange Sweet Potato, the vitamin A bomb!!!

Ok, now explanation apart, let’s get to the recipe!

Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin/Squash) Italian Gnocchi

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 3 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500 gr / 1 lb sweet potato or pumpkin/squash, cooked, well-drained and mashed (about 4 potatoes or 800 gr / 1.8 lbs raw squash/potato)
  • 100 gr / 1 1/3 cup / 3.5 oz Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese finely grated
  • 200 gr / 1 1/2 cup / 7.0 oz all-purpose flour (preferably pastry flour)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

Rinse, peel and cut the vegetables into little pieces and steam them in a microwave for about 15-20 minutes. For me this is the best cooking method because most of the water will evaporate in the cooking process and this will prevent to use too much flour in the dough thus avoiding rubbery Gnocchi. If you don’t have a microwave, bake them unpeeled until fork tender.

sweet potato steamed

The puree doesn’t have to be wet so, if needed, you can simmer it over medium heat until the “juices” boil off, but if you follow the microwave method you won’t have any problems.

Put steamed/cooked vegetables in a big bowl and mash them with a fork of potato masher.

sweet potato mashed pumpkin squash

Mix in Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and 3/4 flour (150 gr). Do not over mix.

squash gnocchi dough parmigiano nutmeg cinnamon

Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. Add the remainder flour only if necessary and the dough is still sticky.

It has to be soft and just a bit tacky. If it’s still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though! Adding more flour it certainly improves the workability of the dough, but it makes the Gnocchi too firm or can I say rubber ball? Nah, you don’t want that, do you?

sweet potato gnocchi dough

Immediately dust with flour your working area, take a piece of the dough at a time and gently roll each out to form 3/4 inch – 2 cm in diameter ropes.

sweet potato gnocchi rope

Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), and if you want you can lightly press and roll each pieces into the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board with the tip of your thumb to make a small indentation (this is a bit difficult to explain with words but there a lot of videos on the Web so you can watch them until I have time to make one by myself) but for Squash or Sweet Potato Gnocchi I like to skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.

sweet potato squash gnocchi italian

Put Gnocchi, divided from each other, over a well floured plate to avoid from sticking together.

If you want you can freeze them with the plate and once frozen you can put them into a freezer bag to leave more space in the freezer.

To cook Sweet Potato or Pumpkin/Squash Gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to avoid them from sticking while cooking.

Drop Gnocchi (both fresh or frozen), a few at a time, into the boiling water, make a little stir.

When they rise to the surface, immediately remove and drain them with a slotted spoon and put onto the serving dish.

Put your favourite sauce over them, give a little stir and serve immediately.

sweet potato squash pumpkin gnocchi italian

If you don’t serve them immediately, remember to sprinkle Gnocchi with a little bit of olive oil and give a little stir. When you want to serve Gnocchi just put your favourite sauce in a pan, heat up and put them in to combine for less than 30 seconds.

These are best served with melted butter and sage sauce (put butter in a pan, add sage, let simmer a bit and add cooked Gnocchi). I love to sprinkle some poppy seeds over for a little crunchy taste and for a lovely presentation. What a perfect balance of texture and flavour!

I’ve just finished writing this post and I’m really craving them again. Uh.. the downsides of blogging…

There’s nothing better than sitting in front of a plate of steaming hot Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin/Squash) Gnocchi, is it? And these are delicious pillows of Vitamin A… pure awesomeness!

best authentic italian gnocchi

Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin/Squash) Italian Gnocchi - Super easy and egg-free!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Delicious little dumplings made with sweet potato, pumpkin or butternut squash mash in the authentic Italian style, served with melted butter and sage.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 500 gr / 1 lb sweet potato or pumpkin/squash, cooked, well-drained and mashed (about 4 potatoes or 800 gr / 1.8 lbs raw squash/potato)
  • 100 gr / 1⅓ cup / 3.5 oz Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese finely grated
  • 200 gr / 1½ cup / 7.0 oz all-purpose flour (preferably pastry flour)
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Rinse, peel and cut the vegetables into little pieces and steam them in a microwave for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Put steamed/cooked vegetables in a big bowl and mash them with a fork of potato masher.
  3. Mix in Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and ¾ flour (150gr). Do not over mix.
  4. Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. Add the remainder flour only if necessary and the dough is still sticky. It has to be soft and just a bit tacky. If it’s still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though!
  5. Immediately dust with flour your working area, take a piece of the dough at a time and gently roll each out to form ¾ inch – 2 cm in diameter ropes.
  6. Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), and if you want you can lightly press and roll each pieces into the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board with the tip of your thumb to make a small indentation - I like to skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.
  7. Put Gnocchi, divided from each other, over a well floured plate to avoid from sticking together.
  8. If you want you can freeze them with the plate and once frozen you can put them into a freezer bag to leave more space in the freezer.
  9. To cook Sweet Potato or Pumpkin/Squash Gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to avoid them from sticking while cooking.
  10. Drop Gnocchi (both fresh or frozen), a few at a time, into the boiling water, make a little stir.
  11. When they rise to the surface, immediately remove and drain them with a slotted spoon and put onto the serving dish.
  12. Put your favourite sauce over them, give a little stir and serve immediately.
Notes
If you don’t serve them immediately, remember to sprinkle Gnocchi with a little bit of olive oil and give a little stir. When you want to serve Gnocchi just put your favourite sauce in a pan, heat up and put them in to combine for less than 30 seconds.

These are best served with melted butter and sage sauce (put butter in a pan, add sage, let simmer a bit and add cooked Gnocchi). I love to sprinkle some poppy seeds over for a little crunchy taste and for a lovely presentation.

5 thoughts on “Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin/Squash) Italian Gnocchi – Super easy and egg-free!

  1. I had some leftover baked sweet potatoes and just made these for lunch. They were fantastic! They reminded me so much of the zucca gnocchi I had last year in Bologna. Thank you so much for the recipe! I can’t wait to try your classic potato gnocchi next. :)

  2. Thank you thank you thank you Ilaria!!!
    After years spent researching for a good squash gnochi recipe I finally found yours!
    It was super easy to make following your microwave method and all my family was really amazed when I told them that I made it.
    They asked if I’ve attended an Italian cousine course, ahah! Just browsing!
    Please write more recipes!

Have you tried my recipe? Please leave a comment!