Gnocchi and Buffalo Mozzarella Recipe | PBS Food

Gnocchi and Buffalo Mozzarella

Making gnocchi from scratch is a tradition that is not practiced very much these days. It is so worth the time and effort, though—and it really isn’t as hard as it seems. This dish holds a lot of nostalgia for me because all the “old-timers” in my family used to make it. When I bring this dish to family gatherings, it prompts discussions about our family’s history and reminds us of all of the joy we have experienced in the kitchen together.

This recipe from Dan appears in Episode 2 of Season 1 of The Great American Recipe.


Yield: Serves 6



  • Gnocchi
  • 8 small Idaho potatoes
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil1
  • ½ teaspoons salt1
  • ½–2 cups all-purpose flour

  • Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon dried parsley
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 2tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
  • 1 large (25-ounce) ball buffalo mozzarella, cubed


  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and put it in the freezer. Put the potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and microwave until they are fork-tender, about 12 minutes. While the potatoes are still hot, peel them and pass them through a food mill or ricer onto the cold parchment-lined baking sheet. Try to keep the potatoes as light and fluffy as possible. Refrigerate the potatoes on the baking sheet until cold.
  2. Transfer the cold potatoes to a clean work surface. In a bowl, beat together the egg, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, oil, and salt and pour the mixture over the potatoes. Cover generously with 1½ cups of the flour. It should look like snow on the mountains.
  3. Crumble the potato flour mixture between your fingers, then begin to knead the dough until it is a dry, homogeneous mixture. The dough should feel slightly moist, but not tacky. If too tacky,
  4. repeat the “snow on the mountains” stage with some of the remaining ½ cup flour. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.While the dough is resting, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until soft, about 4–5minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, ¼ cup of the Pecorino Romano, onion powder, granulated garlic, dried parsley, salt, and pepper. Turn the heat up to medium and simmer the sauce for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon. Turn off the heat and add the butter and 1 tablespoon each fresh parsley and basil.
  5. Dust a rimmed baking sheet with flour. Form the dough into a large log. Cut slices off the log and begin to roll them into long ropes that are about 1 inch thick. Cut the ropes into 1/2-inch lengths. Cover generously with flour. Place the gnocchi in a single layer on the floured baking sheet.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Working in batches, add the gnocchi and cook until they puff up and float to the surface, about 4 minutes. Taste one to make sure they are done. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the cold water for 2 minutes, then drain.
  7. Turn the heat under the sauce to medium. Add the gnocchi to the sauce, along with the mozzarella. Cook for 2 minutes, tossing lightly, then transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with the remaining1 tablespoon each fresh parsley, basil, and PecorinoRomano cheese.