Gnocchi recipes date back to the twelfth century and are most common in the Northern regions of Italy. Believe it or not, gnocchi is very popular in Brazil, where people enjoy Italian food in general. While it's not as popular as pasta is in the United States, Americans enjoy gnocchi as well. In fact, most fine Italian restaurants have at least one gnocchi dish on the menu.
For this version of gnocchi, I use 2 pounds of russet potatoes, 2 cups of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1 large egg.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake potatoes until easily pierced with a fork (about 45 minutes). You can also boil the potatoes, but baking creates a drier dough and a lighter, fluffier gnocchi. Let the potatoes cool slightly, then peel.
Pass the potatoes through a ricer or grate them into a large bowl.
Add the flour to potatoes a little at a time, mixing well with a wooden spoon. Add just enough flour so that the dough doesn't stick to your hands.
When all the flour has been incorporated, bring the dough together with your fingertips. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a slightly floured surface. Knead the dough as you would bread dough. Press down and away with the heel of your hand, fold the dough over, make a quarter turn, and repeat the process. Knead for about 5 minutes.
Cut the dough into 1 inch pieces.
With your finger, gently roll the pressed dough back off the fork. This takes a little practice. If you find the dough sticking to the fork, dip the fork in flour before you press the dough against it.
To cook the gnocchi, place the dough into a pot of boiling water. After a few minutes the gnocchi will float to the top. Continue to cook for one minute then remove and set aside.
Serve the hot gnocchi immediately, tossed with butter and a little Parmesan cheese or with the sauce of your choice. You can serve them with tasty tomato based pasta sauces or white creamy sauces as well. They go very well also with pesto. Check the pictures below for different sauces. Recipe for the sauces will follow soon ;)
Creamy Cheese Sauce
Tomato based pasta sauce
Baked with tomato based pasta sauce sprinkled with parmesan cheese
Gnocchi instead can be easily frozen. Drop frozen gnocchi directly in the boiling water without defrosting: they will be ready when they surface like indicated in the recipe.