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A plate of potato gnocchi in sauce.

Gnocchi Two Ways

This recipe for 'gnocchi two ways' appears as part of the Fine Dining Lovers series, The Secrets of Italian Food, with London-based Italian chef, Danilo Cortellini

The dense starchiness of the potato gnocchi makes it an immensely satisfying dish. The perfect winter warmer from the Italian tradition of 'peasant food' is also the perfect way to use up any leftovers, particularly if you have any pumpkin or squash that you don't want to waste. The sauce uses a spicy Italian sausage, tomatoes, garlic and basil, a classic Italian combination that will turn your gnocchi into something a bit more special. 

Learn how to make the classic primo of gnocchi in two different ways.

07 November, 2022
Average: 4.3 (8 votes)


serves for


total time

1 HR 0 MIN


For the potato gnocchi
Floury potatoes
500g, cooked (such as maris piper)
Flour 00
Grana padano cheese
75g, finely grated
Fine sea salt
to taste
Freshly grated, to taste
For the sauce
Tinned tomatoes
700g (peeled)
3 cloves, finely chopped
15 leaves
250g (or burrata)
Grana padano cheese
To garnish
Salt and pepper
To taste
For the pumpkin gnocchi
Butternut squash
500g (about 2kg raw)
All purpose flour
Grana padano cheese
50g (grated)
Salt and pepper
to taste
To taste
2 cloves
1 sprig
Extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp (for the pumpkin/butternut squash)
For the sauce
1 sprig
Unsalted butter
Double cream
Gorgonzola cheese
200g (cubed)
20g (toasted)
White wine
1 splash
Salt and pepper

Watch the video

Step 01

Cooking potatoes for gnocchi.

For the potato gnocchi

Boil the potatoes, starting from cold water. Salt lightly and simmer for about 45 minutes until soft and cooked. Check the potatoes with a wooden skewer – if it penetrates without resistance they are cooked. 

Step 02

Mashing potatoes for dumplings.

Drain the potatoes and let them steam, covered with a towel, for 15 minutes before peeling them and mashing them with a ricer. You can even mash them with the skin on, as it won’t pass through the ricer. Let the mashed potato cool, and dry on your work surface before kneading, or it will absorb too much flour and you will taste less of the potato.

Step 03

Creating gnocchi dough.

Knead the potatoes with the sifted flour, the egg, the grated cheese and a touch of salt and nutmeg. 

When smooth and combined, stop kneading it. If overworked it will become gluey. Let the potato dough rest for 20 minutes.

Step 04

Making gnocchi dough sausages.

When rested, roll little pieces of the dough with the palm of your hands to create long and thin dough sausages. To do that, press the pieces gently with your hands while rolling and moving your hands apart from each other. 

Step 05

Shaping the gnocchi.

Dust the dough strips with flour and cut into 2cm logs with a dough scraper or a blunt knife. If you want you can roll them over a gnocchi board or a fork to create a beautiful rigged pattern to collect more sauce. They can be cooked straight away or kept in the fridge in a floured tray for a couple of days. Alternatively, freeze them and boil from frozen.

Step 06

Creating the sauce for the gnocchi.

For the sauce 

Roast the chopped garlic in olive oil in a large pan until golden. Add the 'nduja and let it melt gently. 
Now add the tomatoes, mash them with a wooden spatula, and cook for about 20 minutes. At this stage, season to taste, add the basil and get ready to boil the gnocchi.

Step 07

Cooking gnocchi.

To finish

Boil the gnocchi in salted boiling water a handful at a time. They will take about 3 minutes, but they will naturally float to the surface when ready. Toss the gnocchi in the sauce and stir to coat well. 

Step 08

A plate of gnocchi in sauce.

Serve in bowls and top with fresh basil leaves, a spoon of stracciatella cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 


Step 09

Cutting pumpkin for gnocchi.

For the pumpkin gnocchi 

Peel and slice the pumpkin as thin as you can. The thinner the slices, the quicker they will cook. 

Step 10

Sliced pumpkin on a baking tray.

Line a baking tray with parchment and spread the pumpkin slices over. Season with salt and pepper, add 2 cloves of garlic and a sprig of sage, and drizzle with olive oil. 

Step 11

Cooked sliced pumpkin.

Cover with foil, and bake at 160°C for about 20 minutes or until the pumpkin slices have completely softened.

Step 12

Pureeing pumpkin.

Remove the garlic and sage from the pumpkin and blitz in a food processor until smooth. It is very important to let the pumpkin puree drain for a few hours, or even overnight in a fine sieve, to get rid of the excess water and concentrate its flavour.

Step 13

Creating the pumpkin gnocchi dough.

Mix the pumpkin puree with the sifted flour, eggs and cheese and season to taste. 

Step 14

Shaping pumpkin gnocchi.

Place the puree into a pastry bag and, with the help of a paring knife, cut little dough balls while squeezing the mixture out of the bag over a pot of salted boiling water.

Step 15

Cooked pumpkin gnocchi.

When the gnocchi float on the surface they are cooked and ready to drain.


Step 16

Making a sauce.

For the sauce

In a large pan, brown the chopped shallots and sage in butter. Pour in a splash of white wine, let the alcohol evaporate and add the cream. Bring to the boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the cubed gorgonzola cheese. Let it melt very gently and remove from the heat. 

Step 17

Pumpkin gnocchi topped with sauce.

 Loosen the sauce with a ladle of gnocchi cooking water and add the gnocchi. 

Step 18

Pumpkin gnocchi ready to be served.

Mix well, plate and sprinkle with toasted walnuts.



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Chef Danilo Cortellini

Danilo Cortellini

Cortellini is the head chef at the Italian Embassy in London, and founder of Tiramisoo Events, a London-based catering and events company w