Sweet Potato Italian Gnocchi (or Pumpkin/Squash) – 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
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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.

Ultimate Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce – the Great Italian Sauce!

AUTHENTIC BOLOGNESE SAUCE

You know that I’m always searching for best/perfect recipes, don’t you? Well, I’ve already told you in my Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce post what my favourite sauce for pasta was and I thought that my Mom’s Ragù was the best recipe ever, but recently I tried another one, just out of curiosity and to confirm my theory, and I was literally amazed!


ultimate best authentic bolognese sauce

This recipe is so perfect, rich and so delicious that I’m asking how couldn’t I ever imagined that? I tried many other recipes but no one satisfied me more than my mom’s recipe even if those were made by great grandmothers.

Now, look at the photo below… do I need to add more words to convince you???

authentic best tagliatelle bolognese sauce

Another reason why I was skeptical before trying this recipe is because it does not contain garlic. And I love garlic in Bolognese Sauce, it gives a wonderful taste. But this recipe is so tasty itself and is balanced in every part of it. So, garlic lovers, before adding some garlic, taste the sauce with pasta (not alone).

This Great Authentic Bolognese Sauce is heavier (more fats) than other recipes I shared with you, but worth everything, even your bikini, trust me. Next time you’ll make Tagliatelle you’ll want to try this one, really!

This is very simple to make too, just few easy steps and some time at home, but you don’t have to look constantly at the stove so you can do other things while it cooks.

best authentic bolognese sauce delicious

I use this recipe just for special occasions, such as when I have guests or on special Sundays, while for “daily” lunchtime I always use my Mom’s recipe because it’s “healthier” (if a Bolognese sauce can be called that ahah!) and has less fats so I can continue in following my diet. That’s why I don’t remove this recipe from the blog, because is still valuable.

best italian tagliatelle bolognese sauce

As I told you before in the other post, the secret for a special Bolognese Sauce, that we (italians) call Ragù (pron. Ruh-goo), is the long cooking time, 6 hours are best.

Yes, it can be ready after 2 hours but it will be just a sauce with some meat in it and very very bland.

People say that the habit of cooking meat for long hours is given by the fact that many years ago it was very tough, so long cooking times ensured a better tenderness to the meat, but I do not agree with that because when a Bolognese Sauce is cooked for at least 4 hours (or as I suggest 6), the meat along with olive oil, vegetables and tomato perfectly combine together to form a unique mouth-watering sauce, so there’s really a huge difference in the taste, not just in tenderness (the pictures below show the difference).

best bolognese sauce before

After 2 hours of cooking the sauce is watery, bland and the meat is whitish.

best bolognese sauce long hours

After 6 hours of cooking the sauce is dense and full of taste!

So this is the best Bolognese Sauce recipe I have ever ever ever eaten, period. If you know another recipe that is better than this one (I’m a bit skeptical but..), please let me know!!! It would be another huge discovery!

Enough said, now let’s move to the recipe!

italian grandma tagliatelle bolognese sauce

Ultimate Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce *

* (adapted from Beniamino Baleotti’s Ragù alla Bolognese recipe, he works as a cook at Agriturismo Le Ginestre in Pianoro (Bologna). If you ever plan to go near there make sure to visit him and have a traditional lunch there or make a pasta course, he speaks Japaneese too! I made some adjustments to his recipe such as swapped out lard for butter, because for me the first one gives a too piggy taste.)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 4-6 hours
Yield: 6-7 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 500 gr / 1lb / 18 oz ground quality beef (94% lean if possible)
  • 300 gr / 2/3 lb / 10 oz ground quality lean pork meat (chuck/shoulder or loin)
  • 200 gr / 1/2 lb / 7 oz ground pork belly (skinned, raw/no seasoned)
  • 450 gr / 16 oz / 4 1/2 cups soffritto vegetables OR 2 medium onions, 3 carrots and 2 celery stalks finely chopped
  • 150 ml  / 2/3 cup red wine (no bubbles)
  • 600 gr / 1 1/4 lbs / 20 oz plain tomato sauce
  • 2 sage leaf
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • kosher salt to taste

Instructions:

Heat oil and butter in a heavy, bottomed pot and fry ground pork belly until it’s brown and crispy (about 8-10 minutes).

Don’t skip this passage, it’s the key for a tasty sauce!!!

butter olive oil bolognese sauce

pancetta pork belly bolognese sauce

crispy pork belly bolognese sauce

crispy pancetta bolognese sauce closeup

Crispy pork belly

Add vegetables and fry them for about 10 minutes until they start to soften and color a bit (so vegetables are more savoury and sweet), scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally.

soffritto bolognese sauce

Mine were frozen

soffritto pork belly bolognese sauce

Add the remaining ground meat, breaking it up with a fork and cook until it’s browned all over (5-10 minutes) and all the water, that the meat releases, is evaporated.

soffritto pork belly meat bolognese sauce

seared meat bolognese sauce

Add red wine, give a stir and let the liquid reduce for 2-3 minutes or until you no longer smell alcohol.

red wine best bolognese sauce

Add tomato sauce, sage, bay leaf, nutmeg, salt and cover the meat with some water.

tomato authentic bolognese sauce

Partially cover with a lid and simmer Ragù for at least 4 hours (6 is better), stirring occasionally (about every 1 1/2 hours). During that time, if you see that the sauce is drying to much add some water (not at the end of the cooking time though!).

Here’s a photo of the sauce after just 2 hours of cooking (watery and bland).

best bolognese sauce before closeup

That’s how the sauce has to look like after 6 hours of cooking:

best bolognese sauce after closeup

As you have read, there’re just few steps to follow. It’s not complicated at all, so on the next rainy Sunday have a try and let me know if it’s your best italian Bolognese Sauce recipe too! And don’t forget that Ragú can be used with every kind of pasta, not just Tagliatelle!

italian ragu bolognese sauce perfect tagliatelle

ultimate great authentic italian pasta sauce mouth watering tagliatelle bolognese sauce

Ultimate Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce - the Great Italian Sauce!
 
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Cook time
Total time
 
The most delicious and authentic Bolognese sauce ever.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 500 gr / 1lb / 18 oz ground quality beef (94% lean if possible)
  • 300 gr / ⅔ lb / 10 oz ground quality lean pork meat (chuck/shoulder or loin)
  • 200 gr / ½ lb / 7 oz ground pork belly (skinned, raw/no seasoned)
  • 450 gr / 16 oz / 4½ cups soffritto vegetables OR 2 medium onions, 3 carrots and 2 celery stalks finely chopped
  • 150 ml / ⅔ cup red wine (no bubbles)
  • 600 gr / 1¼ lbs / 20 oz plain tomato sauce
  • 2 sage leaf
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • kosher salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oil and butter in a heavy, bottomed pot and fry ground pork belly until it's brown and crispy (about 8-10 minutes).
  2. Add vegetables and fry them for about 10 minutes until they start to soften and color a bit (so vegetables are more savoury and sweet), scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally.
  3. Add the remaining ground meat, breaking it up with a fork and cook until it's browned all over (5-10 minutes) and all the water, that the meat releases, is evaporated.
  4. Add red wine, give a stir and let the liquid reduce for 2-3 minutes or until you no longer smell alcohol.
  5. Add tomato sauce, sage, bay leaf, nutmeg, salt and cover the meat with some water.
  6. Partially cover with a lid and simmer Ragù for at least 4 hours (6 is better), stirring occasionally (about every 1½ hours). During that time, if you see that the sauce is drying to much add some water (not at the end of the cooking time though!).

Roman-Style Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla Romana) with Semolina Flour

An easy Italian pasta recipe for an impressive dish that can be prepared in advance for a great dinner with guests! And, as every recipe in my blog, that’s the best Gnocchi alla Romana recipe that I know of, so it’s a keeper!


roman style gnocchi semolina best easy romana perfect

Gnocchi alla Romana (pron. nyoh-k-kee uh-L-luh rome-uh-nuh) is a typical italian recipe from Lazio region and especially, as the name suggests it, from the city of Rome.

Gnocchi always scare a lot of people, because it’s said that they’re not easy to make, but these Gnocchi are not like those made with potatoes or ricotta but are made with semolina flour so it’s easier to deal with (have you tried my delicious Potato Gnocchi recipesuper easy even for a newbie!).

Here you just need to cook semolina flour into some milk and then spread the dough over a silpat or a baking paper and leave it too cool before shaping and cooking. Therefore super easy and quick!

best roman style gnocchi semolina

The classic Roman-Style Gnocchi recipe provide for a butter and cheese sauce but they can be served with a delicious Bechamèl sauce, a Mornay Sauce, or a sauce mixed with some ham, bacon or pancetta or with your favourite vegetables. In the dough you can also put some chopped greens such as spinach, nettle, chicory, etc.. So you can use your imagination and customize this dish to your liking!

You can also have fun choosing the form for these Gnocchi alla Romana! In Rome they usually shape gnocchi in circles while outside they use to cut the dough in squares or in rhombus. But nobody forbid you to create these semolina gnocchi in the shape that you want and you can even put the dough into a piping bag with a large tip and make some roses or something like that.

I adapted this recipe from an italian chef called Montersino and I like it because these Gnocchi alla Romana are not tough like others but tender inside with a thin crunchy crust and tastier!

So great results with low efforts! What more?

semolina gnocchi best recipe

parmigiano reggiano discount

Roman-Style Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla Romana) with Semolina Flour

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 5-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 250 gr / 8.8 oz/ 1 1/2 cup semolina flour (or semola rimacinata di grano duro)
  • 1 lt / 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 100 gr / 3.5 oz / 3/4 cup butter (at fridge temperature)
  • 140 gr / 5 oz / 1 3/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese finely grated + more for baking
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • a pinch of nutmeg

romana roman style gnocchi ingredients

Instructions:

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a lightly simmer, then add salt, nutmeg and semolina flour then stir well with a whisk to avoid lumps.
Continue to stir with a wooden spoon and cook for at least 10 minutes, or until it begins to pull away from the sides of the saucepan. The mixture should be like some thick and firm mashed potatoes.

romana roman style gnocchi milk semolina

Remove from heat and add cold butter.

romana roman style gnocchi semolina butter

Add Parmigiano cheese and stir with a wooden spoon until all the butter is melted and absorbed.

romana roman style gnocchi semolina parmigiano

Quickly add the egg and yolks and stir until all is well mixed.

Now you need to choose the shape of your Gnocchi.

(If you want to use a piping bag, immediately put the dough in it because as it cools it will be not so easy to pipe)

Put the dough over a silpat or a baking paper, cover with a cling film or plastic wrap or another silpat and roll with a rolling-pin until it’s flattened to about 1-2 cm / 0.40-0.80 inches.

roman style gnocchi semolina dough

Leave to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

roman style gnocchi semolina flat dough

As you can see from the picture above, I rolled half the dough into a rope to freeze it (I don’t have a big freezer), because the dough was too much for the three of us. Don’t do a rope if you don’t freeze it, because this dough is not tough enough to cut a neat slice. If you freeze the rope-dough, slice it right away when removed from the freezer (and bake as soon as you can).

Once cooled in the fridge, you can cut the dough in circles with a round pastry cutter (5-8 cm / 2-3 inches Ø) or in squares or rhombus with a knife. It the dough has not cooled enough and it’s sticky, plunge the cutter into some water to help you (or brush it with some extra virgin olive oil).

making roman style gnocchi

If you choose the classic form (circle) you can put the remaining pieces of dough under the circle ones in the baking pan. If the dough is still soft and mixable you can re-knead what is left and roll out again to make other Gnocchi.

Spread butter onto one or more casserole (to make some single serving dishes) or onto a baking pan.

Line up Gnocchi into the pan and, if you like, overlap them a bit.

Sprinkle some more Parmigiano Reggiano and/or Pecorino Romano cheese over Gnocchi.

roman style gnocchi ready bake

Pour some melted butter on.

roman style gnocchi semolina bake butter

Bake at 200°C / 425°F / gas mark 7 for about 20-30 minutes.

At the end, if Gnocchi don’t have a golden crust, just switch to the broil/grill setting for a couple of minutes.

And Roman-Style Gnocchi with semolina flour are ready to be served and gobbled up!

italian gnocchi roman style easy best

Roman-Style Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla Romana) with Semolina Flour
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Best authentic Italian Gnocchi alla Romana recipe.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 250 gr / 8.8 oz/ 1½ cup semolina flour (or semola rimacinata di grano duro)
  • 1 lt / 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 100 gr / 3.5 oz / ¾ cup butter (at fridge temperature)
  • 140 gr / 5 oz / 1¾ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese finely grated + more for baking
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • a pinch of nutmeg
Instructions
  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a lightly simmer, then add salt, nutmeg and semolina flour then stir well with a whisk to avoid lumps.
  2. Continue to stir with a wooden spoon and cook for at least 10 minutes, or until it begins to pull away from the sides of the saucepan. The mixture should be like some thick and firm mashed potatoes.
  3. Remove from heat and add cold butter.
  4. Add Parmigiano cheese and stir with a wooden spoon until all the butter is melted and absorbed.
  5. Quickly add the egg and yolks and stir until all is well mixed.
  6. Put the dough over a silpat or a baking paper, cover with a cling film or plastic wrap or another silpat and roll with a rolling-pin until it's flattened to about 1-2 cm / 0.40-0.80 inches.
  7. Leave to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  8. Once cooled in the fridge, you can cut the dough in circles with a round pastry cutter (5-8 cm / 2-3 inches Ø) or in squares or rhombus with a knife. It the dough has not cooled enough and it's sticky, plunge the cutter into some water to help you (or brush it with some extra virgin olive oil).
  9. If you choose the classic form (circle) you can put the remaining pieces of dough under the circle ones in the baking pan. If the dough is still soft and mixable you can re-knead what is left and roll out again to make other Gnocchi.
  10. Spread butter onto one or more casserole (to make some single serving dishes) or onto a baking pan.
  11. Line up Gnocchi into the pan and, if you like, overlap them a bit.
  12. Sprinkle some more Parmigiano Reggiano and/or Pecorino Romano cheese over Gnocchi.
  13. Pour some melted butter on.
  14. Bake at 200°C / 425°F / gas mark 7 for about 20-30 minutes.
  15. At the end, if Gnocchi don't have a golden crust, just switch to the broil/grill setting for a couple of minutes.

Béchamel Sauce (Besciamella) and my foolproof lump-free process

Béchamel Sauce or Besciamella in italian (beh-shuh-mel-luh), is one of the mother sauces of the french and italian cuisine but it’s also known as white sauce.
For someone it may be a little tricky because sometimes it turns out a bit lumpy, but trust me and follow my quick recipe and tips for a perfect foolproof lump-free sauce, Besciamella is a really simple and versatile sauce!


bechamel sauce besciamella best lump free

History tells that an earlier version of Besciamella was born in Tuscany named as “Salsa Colla” (Glue Sauce), consisted in slow cooked milk with meat broth, spices and cream, then it was imported in France (together to several other recipes like onion soup) by Catherine de’ Medici, the wife of King Henry II of France, and then was modified by a chef in honour of the “marquis de Béchamel”, who held the honorary post of chief steward to Louis XIV.

Nowadays, in Italy, Besciamella is most used in the Emilian cuisine especially in the Lasagne recipe, Cannelloni, Pasta al Forno (baked pasta) and 4 cheeses pasta.

But it’s also used with vegetables such as baked cauliflowers or broccoli (for that recipe I like to use a more flavorful sauce: bechamel plus egg yolks, cream and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese – called by chefs Mornay sauce – recipe in a next post).

Béchamel is made by melting butter with equal parts of flour in order to make a roux, which is cooked under low heat while stirring with a whisk and, because it’s a white sauce, you have to pay attention to not over brown the roux (a dark brown roux is usually used to thick roasted meats or stews so they will have more flavour, albeit less thickening power).

The roux is then mixed with nutmeg, heated milk, and it’s customary in Italy, especially in Emilia-Romagna, to add Parmigiano Reggiano cheese inside for a better taste. Then the sauce is cooked until thickened and smooth.

So, the final thickness of the sauce depends from the proportion between roux and milk and the cooking time, so if you want a more liquid Besciamella reduce the amount of roux, otherwise add more roux.

Béchamel Sauce (Besciamella) and my foolproof lump-free process

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 1 minute Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes
Yield: ≈4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/4 cups / 1 lt milk (preferably not skimmed)
  • 8 tbsp / 80 gr all-purpose flour (sifted)
  • 8 tbsp / 80 gr unsalted butter
  • 2-3 pinches freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt to taste (1/4-1/2 tsp)
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)

Note: these quantities of butter and flour produce a medium-thick Béchamel, suitable for Lasagne or as a base for other sauces (generally you can use one to three tablespoons each of flour and butter per cup of milk – e.g. one tbsp of each for a thin sauce while three tbsp of each for an extra thick sauce).

Instructions:

In a medium saucepan heat the milk with salt until little bubbling, then remove from heat or you can heat milk in microwave to save time (pre-heating the milk will reduce the time of stirring and controlling the sauce while cooking).

butter flour

In another pan, melt the butter until foaming. Remove from heat, add flour, stir well with a whisk or a spoon and return to heat (if you don’t remove from heat the pan, the flour will cook too fast and lumps can be too difficult to dissolve).

roux

Every minute (or when necessary) stir with a wooden spoon over a low heat until the roux is blond/light gold and smooth (to me it took about 10-12 minutes), paying attention to not over brown it.

roux 2

Quickly add the nutmeg and mix well (adding nutmeg in the roux instead of in the milk will avoid the nutmeg to clump on the skin of the milk), remove from heat.

roux nutmeg

With one movement put all the roux into the scalded milk (into a saucepan). Stir with a whisk until smooth.

roux milk

Return to heat and simmer Besciamella, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (or a whisk), until sauce comes to a boil, thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon (about 5 minutes).

Wait 2-3 minutes (to allow flour to cook better) and then remove from heat (this will prevent the sauce from taste floury).

If desired add Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and stir a little bit.

Your perfectly smooth Besciamella is ready to be used however you like! (use it immediately as long as it’s hot, so it’s easier to deal with).

besciamella authentic italian lasagne

Béchamel Sauce (Besciamella) and my foolproof lump-free process
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A quick recipe and tips for a perfect foolproof lump-free sauce, Besciamella is a really simple and versatile sauce.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4¼ cups / 1 lt milk (preferably not skimmed)
  • 8 tbsp / 80 gr all-purpose flour (sifted)
  • 8 tbsp / 80 gr unsalted butter
  • 2-3 pinches freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt to taste (1/4-1/2 tsp)
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan heat the milk with salt until little bubbling or you can heat milk in microwave to save time.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. In another pan, melt the butter until foaming.
  4. Remove from heat, add flour, stir well with a whisk or a spoon and return to heat.
  5. Every minute (or when necessary) stir with a wooden spoon over a low heat until the roux is blond/light gold and smooth (to me it took about 10-12 minutes), paying attention to not over brown it.
  6. Quickly add the nutmeg and mix well.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. With one movement put all the roux into the scalded milk (into a saucepan).
  9. Stir with a whisk until smooth.
  10. Return to heat and simmer Besciamella, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (or a whisk), until sauce comes to a boil, thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon (about 5 minutes).
  11. Wait 2-3 minutes (to allow flour to cook better) and then remove from heat (this will prevent the sauce from taste floury).
  12. If desired add Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and stir a little bit.

Potato Gnocchi: authentic, best and fool-proof recipe, firm outside with a delicate and soft texture inside, not chewy, not soggy… simply delicious!

Stop looking elsewhere. Here you’ve found the best and fool-proof Gnocchi recipe ever. Yes, now you can make authentic Italian Gnocchi like a fine restaurant (or even better) with no fuss, I promise. (comments below can confirm that)


Potato Gnocchi best italian soft firm tender not chewy

If you don’t know what they are, Gnocchi (nyoh-k-kee) are a typical italian pasta, they can be prepared with different flours like semolina but the most popular are those made with potatoes.

Here in Italy you can easily find good quality fresh Gnocchi at the grocery store, but making them at home it’s always comforting…. especially when you’re stuck at home with your son ill and you have only some potatoes and eggs in your pantry, like me today 😀 .

I don’t like gum-like Gnocchi, they are too chewy for me, and I like to make them little, so when you eat them you can taste the sauce better, but they’re easy to make so you can choose the size you want – little Gnocchi are also called “Chicche” (kee-k-kay).

Have a try at them because is not the hardest pasta to make if you follow my instructions (as instead many people say that). Those which haven’t been successful in making gnocchi is just because they were in lack of information, trust me!

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So here is my best version for delicious Potato Gnocchi!

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 30-40 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 6-7 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs / 1,4 kg raw potatoes not peeled, suitable for gnocchi (starchy or old potatoes not waxy)
  • 2 egg yolks (medium)
  • 3 tbsp / 30 grams / 1 ounce potato starch
  • 2/3 cup / 50 grams / 1.8 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese (finely grated)
  • 2 tsp / 15 grams salt
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup / 130 grams / 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (sifted) plus more to put on the working area

Gnocchi Ingredients

Instructions:

Rinse, peel and cut potatoes into little pieces and put them in a microwave steamer for about 15 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 just rinse potatoes, leave the peel (so they don’t absorb too much water) put them in a pot filled with water and boil until fork-tender. While still warm, peel the potatoes.

Mash potatoes with a fork or a potato masher and put them in a big bowl.

Let them cool a bit.

(If you cook potatoes in a pot with water wait the next day to make gnocchi or try to dry them a bit in the oven)

Add egg yolks, potato starch, Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Cheese, a pinch of grated nutmeg (if you like), salt and flour.

Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. It has to be soft and not too much sticky. If it’s still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though!

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.

Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), 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) or you can skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.

potato gnocchi rolls

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

Let them rest for 15 minutes.

potato gnocchi best authentic

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 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 pasta sauce over them and serve immediately.

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.

potato gnocchi ragu bolognese

As shown above, I used my Ultimate Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce but they’re really good too with just a melted butter and sage sauce like I did for my son.

potato gnocchi butter sage

Potato Gnocchi: firm outside with a delicate and soft texture inside, not chewy, not soggy... simply delicious!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Best Authentic Italian Gnocchi recipe, fool-proof, easy and super delicious.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs / 1,4 kg raw potatoes not peeled, suitable for gnocchi (starchy or old potatoes not waxy)
  • 2 egg yolks (medium)
  • 3 tbsp / 30 grams / 1 ounce potato starch
  • ⅔ cup / 50 grams / 1.8 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese (finely grated)
  • 2 tsp / 15 grams salt
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup / 130 grams / 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (sifted) plus more to put on the working area
Instructions
  1. Rinse, peel and cut potatoes into little pieces and put them in a microwave steamer for about 15 minutes.
OR
  1. Rinse potatoes, leave the peel (so they don't absorb too much water) put them in a pot filled with water and boil until fork-tender. While still warm, peel the potatoes.
  2. Mash potatoes with a fork or a potato masher and put them in a big bowl.
  3. Let them cool a bit.
  4. Add egg yolks, potato starch, Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Cheese, a pinch of grated nutmeg (if you like), salt and flour.
  5. Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. It has to be soft and not too much sticky. If it's still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though!
  6. 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.
  7. Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), 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 or you can skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.
  8. Put Gnocchi, divided from each other, over a well floured plate to avoid from sticking together.
  9. Let them rest for 15 minutes.
  10. To cook 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.
  11. Drop Gnocchi (both fresh or frozen), a few at a time, into the boiling water, make a little stir.
  12. When they rise to the surface, immediately remove and drain them with a slotted spoon and put onto the serving dish.
  13. Put pasta sauce over them and serve immediately.

Passatelli Pasta (comfort Italian pasta)

AUTHENTIC PASSATELLI RECIPE – ITALIAN DUMPLINGS

Passatelli (puh-ssuh-tell-e) are a real comfort pasta typical of Emilia-Romagna, Italian region.
Usually eaten in cold evenings and accompanied by a genuine home-made meat and vegetable stock can be a really cure for a bad cold.


My mum made these every time I got a fever and now I make Passatelli for my young son, even if he’s not ill, and he likes them very much (he wolfs them down! 😀 ).

passatelli brodo broth romagna italian best perfect pasta comfort food

You can do Passatelli using a potato masher or a meat grinder with large holes (originally it was used a special Passatelli utensil, shown below, but it’s not easy to find it nowadays).

Due to the high amount of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese I suggest you to not use fake parmesan, or the result may differ a lot from the original recipe. You may use Grana Padano instead (another italian cheese like Parmigiano).

parmigiano reggiano discount

Passatelli in brodo (Passatelli in broth)

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 40-50 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 150 grams / 5.30 ounces / 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, extra finely grated
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces / 2 1/2 cups Parmigiano Reggiano, extra finely grated
  • 3 tsp fresh ground nutmeg (grated directly from the seed is better)
  • 3 eggs
  • a pinch of salt

(Some recipes calls for lemon zest to be added in the dough, like it’s used in Romagna, but I think that lemon zest is not appropriate if Passatelli are served in broth. You can add lemon zest and reduce the amount of nutmeg if you’re serving Passatelli with a seafood based sauce.)

Instructions:

Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth dough. It has to be quiet tough, not like a pizza dough, but it doesn’t have to crumble away (if it’s too sticky add some bread crumbs, if it crumbles add few drops of water).
Let rest 15 minutes covered with a plastic wrap.
Put the dough into a potato masher or a meat grinder with large holes (0,5 cm / 0.2 inches diameter) and form Passatelli at about 5 cm / 2” length.

Put Passatelli in a plate and try to leave space between them to avoid sticking together.

Cook in a rolling boil stock (salted to taste) until they float (about 5 minutes). Put in a soup plate and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
They’re even better after 2 hours, just leave them in the stock and heat up before serving.
You can refrigerate both fresh and cooked Passatelli for a month.

Passatelli Pasta (comfort Italian pasta)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 150 grams / 5.30 ounces / 1½ cups bread crumbs, extra finely grated
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces / 2½ cups Parmigiano Reggiano, extra finely grated
  • 3 tsp fresh ground nutmeg (grated directly from the seed is better)
  • 3 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth dough. It has to be quiet tough, not like a pizza dough, but it doesn't have to crumble away (if it's too sticky add some bread crumbs, if it crumbles add few drops of water).
  2. Let rest 15 minutes covered with a plastic wrap.
  3. Put the dough into a potato masher or a meat grinder with large holes (0,5 cm / 0.2 inches diameter) and form Passatelli at about 5 cm / 2'' length.
  4. Put Passatelli in a plate and try to leave space between them to avoid sticking together.
  5. Cook in a rolling boil stock (salted to taste) until they float (about 5 minutes).
  6. Put in a soup plate and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
  7. They're even better after 2 hours, just leave them in the stock and heat up before serving.