Go for the gold – THE YUKON GOLD!

It all started with my quest for a bag of Yukon Gold potatoes.

They came to mind one day when I realized I hadn’t seen them in my local grocery stores or supermarkets for a while.

As much as I like the Russet, and the occasional red potato, I’ve always used the Yukon Gold as the gold standard in my kitchen. Something about its starch content, buttery lightness and how well it holds up roasted, baked, mashed – and best of all, as the star ingredient in gnocchi, those little potato balls of pure pleasure that are treated like a traditional pasta dish in many homes and restaurants.

Not only was I craving Yukon Gold, but now I wanted gnocchi, too.

But – and here’s the big but – I couldn’t find a bag of Yukon Gold to save my life.

I saw many bags of Yellow Potatoes, but no Yukon Gold specific.

I spoke with several chefs I know, who told me to look for the potatoes in August, as all potatoes have a season.

(I recall years ago doing a potato chip taste test in which I discovered bags of potato chips taste different, depending on which season you purchased them – spring won’t have as pronounced a potato chip taste as those purchased in the late fall or winter.)

But I digress.

I wanted Yukon Gold and I wanted them now.

One day, while shopping at my local slavic supermarket (a particular favourite, given I can buy butter from Poland, Ukraine and Germany, not to mention the most awesome selection of smoked deli), I casually looked around the produce section and saw a bag of Yukon Gold potatoes. It was the last bag. I was startled out of my daydreaming, not to mention the butter I was going to buy (I know, I’m weird) – and I almost walked away from the bag until I realized the food lottery I had just won.

So I back-tracked and grabbed that last bag of Yukon Gold potatoes.

I immediately snapped a photo of said bag and sent it to my sister, Anna, who was impressed by my haul. “Wow, you got the Yukon Gold?” Yes, and being the bigger (and technically, big sister) I said I would give her half my stash.

Why all the fuss over Yukon Gold? Well, they are considered the original yellow potato that, according to www.earthfreshfood.scom, was pioneered at the University of Guelph more than 50 years ago. In fact, the Yukon Gold is considered the most famous potato ever bred in Canada! And – boy! Do chefs across North America revere this humble spud, thanks to its versatility, creamy texture and wonderful buttery flavour. Yum!

Now that I had the Yukon Gold, I felt duty-bound to make the gnocchi. And I was excited at the prospect, as making gnocchi is not for the faint of heart.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s just basically boiled potatoes, flour, an egg, some salt – but it also means patience.

If you are not a patient person, just walk on by.

And, given I am NOT a patient person by any stretch of the imagination, I realized I had to make them.

And I’m sure glad I did.

Not that I’m bragging, but my gnocchi came out amazing – outstanding, to be honest. I made enough for family and friends to try, dressed in a simple tomato sauce I had made a day earlier. I took my time, gently kneading the dough to the right consistency (you don’t know until you start making it. If it’s too sticky, a bit more flour, if it’s too doughy, give it a bit of a rest.)

You can also pan-fry the gnocchi after they are boiled – just melt some butter, throw in some fresh sage leaves and saute the little pillow-soft dumplings for a few moments on both side before finishing them off with some Parm cheese.

If heaven had its own taste, I’m sure it would be gnocchi.



As I explained, gnocchi are made up of just a handful of ingredients, but you have to have patience, and make sure you boil the potatoes with their skins on – if you peel them first, the potatoes make disintegrate in the water, and basically wash away their lovely taste and texture. Lastly, if you can’t find Yukon Gold, try yellow-flesh potatoes – they should work, too.


6 medium-sized Yukon Gold (or yellow flesh potatoes) scrubbed

Pinch salt

1 egg

Flour, as needed (I find that Soft Wheat “OO” flour works best)


Rinse the potatoes of any dirt. Dry. Do not peel. Place in a large pot of boiling, salted water, and boil until fork-tender. Remove from water and, when easy to handle (potatoes will still be hot) peel skin from potatoes.

Using a ricer (or a box cheese grater) grate potatoes until nice and fluffy.

Place about a cup of flour on a large wooden board. Add 1/2 tsp. salt to flour. Make a small well in centre and add grated potatoes. Start incorporating flour into potatoes. Make a small dent in mixture and crack egg in centre. Continue to incorporate the flour/potato mixture. If it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour until you can roll into a nice, smooth ball.

Cut ball into four pieces. Remove one piece and cover remaining ball with a clean cloth.

Roll out dough into long ropes, approximately 3/4 inch in diameter. (Use flour to make sure they don’t stick to board.) With a sharp knife, cut chords into 1-inch pieces. Using a wooden gnocchi board (available wherever housewares are sold) gently but quickly roll a gnocchi ball over the board and place on parchment-covered cookie sheet.

(If you don’t have or can’t find a gnocchi board, use a fork – creates the same familiar ridges on the dumplings.)

Repeat with remaining dough.

Let gnocchi rest for 1/2 hour.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently drop in gnocchi, stirring carefully to make sure they do not stick to the bottom. When the gnocchi start floating to the surface, remove and place in a pasta bowl. Gently toss with favourite sauce and cover with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

This recipe serves 6.


FREEZING: Gnocchi freeze well. Place in freezer first in a single layer until they’re frozen. Then place in freezer bags until needed. Use within a month.