The Easy Gnocchi Shortcut You Should Try

If you've ever taken a trip to Italy and tasted their pillowy pasta dumplings, you know how delicious gnocchi can be. Or perhaps you drove down the street to your neighborhood Trader Joe's and picked up a bag of their frozen cauliflower gnocchi. Either way, gnocchi is a comforting indulgence, whether you turn it into a creamy chicken gnocchi or a crispy gnocchi dish.

During the last few years of COVID lockdowns, restrictions, and better work-from-home options, many people began more foods at home they would have previously only purchased at the store, and pasta was no exception. In fact, many learned that you don't need to be a professional to make delicious pasta out of your own kitchen. Just ask the Italians; in 2020, a survey reported by Statista showed that about half of the Italians interviewed made homemade pasta once a week.

So if you're ready to ditch the store-bought gnocchi and looking to make your own at home, it's definitely possible. And for a convenient (and decidedly American) hack to make the process even easier, look no further than this instant food.

Instant mashed potatoes cut down on prep time

When the Thanksgiving cooking frenzy hits, it pays to have a few tricks up your sleeve. And when you're too lazy (or have too much going on) to boil and mash potatoes by hand, instant mashed potatoes can be a lifesaver. In fact, there are many reasons why you should have instant mashed potatoes in your pantry – they can be used to thicken soups, add crispness to vegetables, and make a crunchy coating for meat dishes. But one lesser-known use can simplify your gnocchi-making process.

It makes sense when you think about it. Gnocchi is a potato dumpling, so why not use instant mashed potatoes to save time when making it? According to Cook's Country, the best instant mashed potatoes contain only dried potatoes and nothing else, so you shouldn't be getting any additives you don't want in your pasta if you use them. Plus, they should drastically reduce your cooking time since most homemade gnocchi recipes ask you to clean, boil, and press potatoes through a potato ricer (via Natasha's Kitchen).

With instant mashed potatoes, however, you skip the potato prep process entirely. According to Allrecipes, egg, flour, salt, and pepper are the only other ingredients you need to mix in before shaping and cutting the dough. Once that's done, boil your dumplings until cooked, and top them with your favorite pasta sauce; you can go for store-bought pasta sauce too, just don't tell the Italians!