Gnocchi for Passover? It is possible!

Passover is the most celebrated Jewish holiday. The culinary climax of the holiday is the two seders. But after they fade into memory, the additional matzah-filled days of Passover loom before us.

No bread for a week? No problem! A new cookbook, Meatballs and Matzah Balls from Marcia A. Friedman, has a chapter dedicated to Passover.

Italian by birth and Jewish by choice, Friedman has amassed a feast filled with nostalgic reflections from both traditions.

“It always feels like a brainteaser to create menus for the Passover seders and the remaining days of the holiday,” she said, “but it’s made me creative.” 

She has adapted Italian dishes like Chicken Cacciatore and Potato Gnocchi, as well as desserts like Banana Marshmallow Tart.

But gnocchi for Passover? “The first time I made it, no one could believe it’s kosher for Passover,” she said. “And what a rare pleasure to eat something chewy and pasta-like during the no-bread holiday."

Passover Gnocchi With Pepper And Toasted Garlic

o 2 lb. Yukon gold or butter potatoes, unpeeled, cut into large pieces 

o 3/4 tsp. salt

o freshly ground black pepper, to taste

o 1 1/2 cups matzah cake meal, plus more as needed

o 1/2 cup potato starch

o extra-virgin olive oil

o 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

o 6 large garlic cloves, sliced lengthwise into thirds

o 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


Boil potatoes until just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Cool, peel, discard skin. Press potatoes through potato ricer or mash into large bowl. Stir in salt and pepper.

Whisk together matzah cake meal and potato starch; fold into potatoes. Knead 1 minute until dough is smooth but still slightly sticky. Add a little cake meal if too moist or sprinkle with water if too dry. 

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Roll small handful of dough into rope about 1/2-in. thick. Slice into 3/4-in.pieces. Gently pinch each piece between your finger and prongs of fork for ribbed texture. Place on prepared parchment. Repeat with all dough. Gnocchi can now be refrigerated or frozen for later use.

Place a thick (about 1/3-in.) layer of olive oil in wide, shallow bowl (or a few pie plates) and set aside. Gently stir half the gnocchi into boiling water. After about a minute, dumplings will start rising to surface. Cook 40 seconds more until al dente, and quickly remove with slotted spoon or small strainer to bowl with oil, stirring gently to coat to prevent sticking. Repeat with remaining gnocchi.

Heat olive oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in red pepper flakes and some garlic: place as many gnocchi as will fit in one layer in pan. Cook until both sides are golden brown and crisped, 6 to 10 minutes (remove garlic sooner if too brown). Remove to warmed platter; top with cheese, if using. Repeat with remaining gnocchi. Serve immediately. Serves 4-5. n

Source: Meatballs and Matzah Balls by Marcia A. Friedman