Some say gnocchi is a dumpling; others argue it’s pasta. Either way, what do you do if you have some leftover? Can you reheat gnocchi without sacrificing taste or texture?
Is Tom Brady the greatest quarterback of all time? Was the ending of the TV show Lost meant to portray purgatory? Is gnocchi a dumpling or a pasta dish?
Oh yes, the great gnocchi debate. It ranks among history’s greatest. And to be sure friends, we’re going to address it here.
But the bigger question is whether or not you can reheat gnocchi, and still retain its delicate texture.
The short answer is yes, you can reheat gnocchi and preserve its signature pillowy softness. But there are a few simple steps in order to do it properly.
Read on to find out more.
What is gnocchi?
Wheat flour, eggs, salt. These components are common to both gnocchi and traditional pasta. But the most popular form of gnocchi contains another key ingredient: potato.
In fact, it’s the main ingredient. That’s what helps give them their denser body — and if made well, their pillowy texture. So generally, this type of gnocchi is considered by many to be a potato-based dumpling rather than a pasta.
But it’s not quite that simple. Many varieties apart from potato gnocchi exist, mainly differing depending on the region they’re from. Some are made with pumpkin rather than potato. Others use farro (a type of wheat grains). And yet another type of gnocchi uses ricotta cheese.
And that’s not where the confusion ends. Both pasta and gnocchi can be prepared the same way. And each can be molded into different shapes. In the case of gnocchi, those shapes are commonly shells or discs.
So, is it a dumpling or is it pasta? That’s up to you to decide.
But what we can give you a definitive answer to is how to properly reheat gnocchi so it’s just as good as freshly made.
How to reheat gnocchi that has been cooked
How best to reheat gnocchi depends on whether you simply premade your dough and froze it, or whether it was fully cooked first. In this guide, we’ll cover both. Let’s start with reheating fully-cooked gnocchi.
You can use several different ways to successfully warm up fully-cooked gnocchi:
Each has its benefits depending on the type of original gnocchi dish. And each is also fairly easy.
In a pan
Whether your pre-cooked gnocchi is already sauced or plain, using a pan or large skillet on the stove top is a great way to reheat it.
- Melt some butter in a pan over medium heat, or coat the bottom with a bit of olive oil.
- Add the gnocchi to the pan and reduce the heat. If they’re sticking together, gently separate them with a wooden spoon.
- Cook for 3-5 minutes until they become a light golden brown and are heated all the way through.
💡 Pro tip: To enhance the flavors, add aromatics like garlic or onion to the pan at the start. Be careful not to overcook the gnocchi as it can become dry.
In the oven
This is a good heating method if you have a fully prepared gnocchi dish, especially one with a sauce that’s already been mixed in. Here’s how to do it:
- Heat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
- Place gnocchi in a glass baking dish or another oven-safe container.
- Sprinkle a bit of water over the gnocchi and cover the dish with foil. The water will steam in the hot oven and help moisten and soften the gnocchi.
- Set a timer for 7-8 minutes, then check on the gnocchi. If it’s not warmed all the way through, cook for another 2-3 minutes or until it’s ready.
If you have pre-cooked plain gnocchi that you need to heat up, this method can work well.
- Boil a large pot of water with some salt to season.
- Add the gnocchi and let cook for about 45 seconds. When they’re ready, they should be hot but not too soft. Be careful not to overcook them as the texture of the gnocchi can quickly become dense and mushy.
- Remove the gnocchi from the hot water with a slotted spoon or colander.
- Mix in a separate sauce to complete the dish.
In a microwave
This method can be used for both pre-sauced and plain gnocchi, but I find that it’s not quite as precise as the other two. And depending on the power setting of your microwave, the gnocchi can easily overcook and become mushy in the reheating process.
Still, if you’re short on time, this may be your best option.
- Put the gnocchi in a microwave-safe dish.
- Microwave gnocchi for 30 seconds, then stir and cook for another 15 seconds.
- If the gnocchi isn’t ready, cook in 15-second intervals until thoroughly warm.
- Enjoy right away so it doesn’t dry out.
The best way to reheat frozen gnocchi
If you stored leftover gnocchi in the freezer, there’s no need to thaw it out before heating it up. But for best results, you need to reheat it on the stovetop.
- Boil a large pot of salted water.
- Drop the gnocchi in the boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- If they’re not fully reheated, cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, being careful not to overcook them.
- Drain and mix in your favorite sauce, cheese, or other toppings like fresh basil or fresh parsley, and enjoy!
How to store leftover gnocchi in the fridge and freezer
The best method to store leftover cooked gnocchi is in the fridge. First, let it cool completely. Then simply put it in an airtight container, and place parchment paper between layers so it doesn’t stick together. It should keep for up to 2 days.
If you need to keep pre-sauced, leftover gnocchi for longer, store it in the freezer in an airtight container or in freezer bags. This will help prevent freezer burn and keep odors from other foods from seeping in. If you use a freezer bag, be sure not to place anything on top that could crush the gnocchi. Frozen pre-sauced gnocchi has a shelf life of up to 1 month.
To freeze unsauced homemade gnocchi, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and let them freeze uncovered for 3 hours. Then move them to an airtight container or freezer bag. They should keep for up to 2 months.
Issues with both dough and cooking method can result in dense gnocchi. A main culprit is using too much flour, as that can make them heavy and chewy. Also, be careful not to overwork the dough. Doing so can over-activate the gluten in the flour, making your gnocchi gummy.
To boil gnocchi, place it in salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes. When it’s done, it will float to the top. To prevent drying out, mix it with sauce immediately and enjoy.
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