Culinary Secrets: Gnocchi that tastes like Tuscany
by Tomm Johnson / For the Tracy Press
Aug 18, 2011 | 3121 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hello to all of my food friends in Tracy and Mountain House! I am excited to be your new neighbor. This is one of the first of many recipes I will be sharing with you.

Culinary Secrets is my way of sharing my years of culinary experience with as many people as possible. I bring over 25 years of practical, real-world experience directly to you in the convenience of your own home. Having spent 15 years working in restaurants and 10 years teaching tomorrow’s chefs at culinary institutes on the East and West coasts, I’ve collected a vast array of skills and techniques that I’m now here to share with you.

This gnocchi recipe comes to you straight out of the restaurants of Tuscany. I spent a lot of time there learning the Culinary Secrets of their cuisine to share with you.

One of the cool things about this recipe is that you can go to my website,, and watch me make it step by step. If you have any questions or recipe suggestions, send me an e-mail.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Until next time, happy cooking.

Potato gnocchi

(Serves 4)

1 pound Yukon gold or russet potatoes

4 egg yolks, separated

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 gallon (1 large pot) boiling water, salted until it tastes like the sea

4 cups favorite tomato sauce (a recipe is available at

1½ cup fresh mozzarella, cubed

4 pieces basil flowers

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Wash and poke the potatoes with a fork, to allow the steam to come out of them easily. Place on a sheet pan and cook 45 to 60 minutes. The potatoes should give a little when you squeeze them.

Take the skin off the hot potatoes and mash them up thoroughly. Let them cool. Mound the potatoes up and form a well. Add the egg yolks, cheese, salt and pepper and add ¾ cup of the flour. Knead until it forms a dough. The dough should be tacky but not sticky; if it is sticky, add more flour.

Test the dough by rolling out a few pieces and putting them in the boiling water. The gnocchi should be in there for about 90 seconds; then it will float to the top when done. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Roll the dough into logs about 1 inch in diameter, then chop into inch-long lengths, as demonstrated in the cooking show video on Each dumpling can be rolled along the tines of a fork for texture.

If you are not going to use them immediately, place the shaped gnocchi in the freezer, where they will last several months. Never put them in the refrigerator, as the moisture will break them down. To use from the freezer, just place them in salted boiling water and wait for them to come to the top.

To serve, place your tomato sauce into a large sauté pan and heat until hot. Add in the hot cooked gnocchi and fresh mozzarella and gently stir so everything is mixed well. Divide between four dishes, top with the basil leaves and serve. Enjoy!

• Tomm Johnson, a professional chef, lives in Mountain House and shares his culinary expertise through his website, He can be reached by e-mail at or via, under the name “Culinary Secrets with Chef Tomm.”
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