A while ago, I made these ricotta gnocchi for the blog. I actually make them all the time; I love a meal that you can have on the table within a matter of minutes. The original recipe calls for plain flour but I’d been wondering for a while whether it would be possible to change it up a little and swap in some different flours. The answer I came to is, sort of.

In order to keep the gnocchi light and fluffy, you do need to use mainly plain flour. Using whole grains, or any other type of flour, produces a much denser result and really quite an unpleasant bite. After many experiments and a whole lot of gnocchi-eating, I think the recipe below has the perfect balance. The gnocchi maintain their pillow-like texture but there’s a hint of nuttiness and wholesomeness from the buckwheat flour. Deb first introduced Marcella Hazan’s tomato, butter and onion sauce to me. I knock up a batch most weeks. Sometimes, however, I’m too lazy to chop an onion in half as required by the recipe. I can report, however, that just simmering a tin of chopped tomatoes and a small knob of butter makes a pretty stellar sauce.

Buckwheat gnocchi with tomato and butter sauce
Gnocchi recipe provided by Toby Kennedy, sauce recipe adapted from Marcella Hazan via smitten kitchen
Yield: Serves 2

For the sauce:

  • 1 x 400g (8 oz) tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
For the gnocchi:
  • 200g (8 oz, 1 cup)ricotta
  • 2 egg yolks
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 100g (3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon)plain/all purpose flour
  • 65g (1/2 cup)buckwheat flour

Cooking Directions

  1. To make the sauce, simmer together the tomatoes and the butter in a large pan for 30 min or so until the tomatoes have broken down. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. To make the gnocchi, mix all the ingredients into a dough with your hands but don’t overwork the mixture (no more than 5 minutes of kneading).
  3. Separate your dough into two balls and roll each into a sausage shape on a lightly floured worktop.
  4. Cut into gnocci-sized pieces and cook in a pan of boiling salted water. They should float to the top once they are cooked.
  5. Add the gnocchi to the sauce and serve immediately.
19 Responses to "buckwheat gnocchi with tomato and butter sauce"
  1. Jenny @ BAKE says:

    These look delicious, I love tomatoes but alas I’m allergic! Though these look like they would be perfect paired with some pesto. I hadn’t even considered tomatoes and slave labour, that really is quite a shock!

  2. Erin says:

    How interesting that you post this today, because I JUST listened to a podcast yesterday about Florida’s tomato farm situation.
    And while I can easily boycott by the simple fact that I don’t like tomatoes, I can’t say the same about chocolate or several other types of foods that have a similar background situation.
    Being aware and responsible with where your food comes from is so important, and seeing this post is really encouraging me to be better about it with my own food.

  3. These look absolutely delicious – pockets of pillowy gnocci perfection and a lovely sauce to boot. The only thing better than a delicious dish is a delicious dish for a good cause!

  4. Thank you SO MUCH for linking and talking about this issue, it is greatly appreciated! Make sure to link up this recipe during the exchange, it sounds amazing. I love gnocchi, I am sure that the buckwheat variety would be perfect! Thanks again Kathryn!

  5. Seth says:

    This is wonderful! My mouth is watering – and I’m even more grateful for your support for Recipe for Change (#R4C) this summer, along with the #TomatoLove Recipe Exchange. I just posted this on the #R4C Facebook page! Thanks again, Seth Wispelwey – Field Organizer, International Justice Mission

    P.S. We have a UK office!

  6. THIS. is freaking gorgeous. I just made gnocchi last week, so when you see next week, don’t think I’m copying. ;)


  7. Thank you for sharing this issue Kathryn – I hadn’t come across it – its quite shocking – in the US in this day and age. We buy Fairtrade as much as we can, and local produce, but this has given me more food for thought (so to speak).

    Regarding plain flour, have you tried Shauna’s (Gluten Free Girl)all purpose flour mix? She recommends a fixed ratio of starch to grain. I’ve used it in cookies and brownies, but not yet dared to with gnocchi.

  8. Gnocchi, my ultimate weakness! And that tomato and butter sauce sounds to die for!

  9. london bakes says:

    @Jenny – I can’t imagine being allergic to tomatoes, what a pain that must be!

    @Erin – I think it’s an issue getting a lot of press at the moment which can only be a good thing. I’m glad you found the post encouraging, it’s a big problem but if we all think more about our food it will have a huge impact.

    @thelittleloaf – Thanks lovely!

    @Cassie – My pleasure, I know it’s a little early but as I was planning to post a recipe with tomatoes today I decided to mention it anyway!

    @Seth – Thank you for sharing and for directing me to your UK office, I’m really glad to see that and I’m really glad you liked it. Keep up the amazing work.

    @Bev – There can never be too much gnocchi in the world. I’ve shown you mine, now you have to show me yours.

    @Nicola – I haven’t, I think there’s one flour that I haven’t been able to track down but the ratio sounds like it could be interesting. I like to try and keep things simple as much as possible but it’s definitely worth an experiment.

    Chung-Ah – I only had gnocchi for the first time a couple of years ago, I can’t believe how much gnocchi eating I’ve missed out on!

  10. Riley says:

    I’ve always had trouble with gnocchi, but yours looks perfect! I’m jealous!

  11. Emma Gardner says:

    I love that Marcella Hazan recipe, especially with a load of fresh summer tomatoes. Never tried it with gnocchi though, I’ll have to try!

  12. It’s great that you’re writing about this. I was shocked by what I read about slavery. Tomato, chocolate or any industry.

    And another awkward transition. Gnocchi! I’ve only tried making the potato version and it was a disaster. This looks delicious and I love that it uses partly buckwheat flour. :)

  13. Thank you so much for posting on this!!! Looks absolutely delicious, and so excited to have you as part of Recipe for Change and #TomatoLove this summer! :)

  14. Joanne says:

    I was so excited when cassie and Ali emailed me about this event! I loooovveee me some tomatoes! The buckwheat gnocchi sound so delicious…thanks for doing all that taste testing for us.

  15. ahh – I had hoped you were going to say you had made the perfect GF buckwheat gnocchi… but clearly that was a little optimistic. Kudos for your experimentation though – I know from experience that creating more wholegrain (of GF) goodies can be a time consuming, expense and ultimately rather fattening endeavour…

  16. Oh Kathryn, I’m also joining the Anti-Slavery Tomatoes thing! I’m posting a tomato recipe on July 24th I think it is…Such a good cause, even if you’re not in me :)

  17. If you’ve not read the book “Tomatoland” yet, you should – it is all about these issues with tomato agriculture, mostly in FL. This gnocchi looks lovely. Interesting twist with the buckwheat.

  18. london bakes says:

    @Riley – These are so easy, pretty much fool proof I promise!

    @Emma – Ah yes, we have a glut of tomatoes here at the moment so I’m going to introduce my mother to it soon and I know she’ll be smitten.

    @Erin – Yeah, I find the potato version can end up quite heaven. These stay so fluffy and soft and really take a minute from fridge to stove!

    @Ali – I’m excited to be a part of it, you ladies are doing something great here!

    @Joanne – My pleasure ;)

    @Em – Yeah, I have been thinking about gluten free alternatives (although I don’t have much motivation as my dad hates gnocchi full stop!). I think the right blend of starches and grains should do it but I think it will take a bit more work definitely and maybe some playing around with the quantities so make sure they gnocchi stay fluffy and light.

    @Elaina – Yay, so glad you’re joining in as well!

    @Amy – Thank you, I think I have it on my kindle but haven’t got round to it yet but I really need to!

  19. Shu Han says:

    ever since summer rolled round, I’ve foudn it hard to resist tomatoes everyday. I get mine from the farmer’s market, from the tomato stall, which sells these baby plum tomaotes grown ont he isle of wight that are so sweet and seriously addictive. this is a great recipe and I like that you’ve added buckwheat to it but made sure it’s still pillowy and fluffy. not sure where it was that I read, but it seems gnocchi was orignally made with buckwheat flour..? I could be wrong of course, since most italian recipes I’ve seen call for usual plain 00 flour. would love to give this recipe a try, it looks gorgeous!

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