My mother used to make the best gnocchi. Yes, I’m biased but what I loved about her gnocchi, is that she would make them a little firmer than usual by adding a little more flour. Her advice was to use older potatoes because they are not as watery as the newer ones. You want to avoid water when making gnocchi. In fact, some cooks suggest baking the potatoes instead of boiling, but I prefer to follow my mother’s tradition.
- 2¼ pounds Yukon gold potatoes (or other ‘floury’ type potato)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- choice of sauce, to serve (simple tomato sauce works well, or butter and parmesan)
Boil or steam the potatoes in their skins until tender, about 25 minutes. Do not over cook. Drain and peel, preferably while still hot if you can handle it. Then mash with a potato ricer into a large bowl.
Stir in the flour, egg and a pinch of salt and knead only until it comes together. Place the dough onto a floured work surface and continue to knead until the mixture forms a smooth, firm dough. Do not overwork the dough. Also, you may need to add more flour as you knead but be careful because if there is too much flour, the gnocchi will be too hard.
Break off a chunk of dough and use the palm of your hands to roll it into a long sausage shape. Cut the roll into roughly 1 inch cylinders, separating them. With two fingers, roll each cylinder gently towards you on the board until they curl into a shell-like shape. You don’t have to do this, you could just boil them in their cylinder shape but they catch more sauce when they’re curled. Continue rolling, cutting and shaping until you have used up all the dough. You will need to keep sprinkling flour at regular intervals.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi, in small batches, and remove with a slotted spoon when they rise to the surface. Put on a warm serving dish, spoon the sauce over the gnocchi and sprinkle some Parmesan. Serve at once.