Gnocchi was something that I've been wanting to make for a long time now and I knew it would be a perfect compliment to all the freshly made pesto that I have in stock in my kitchen. It is well worth the time and effort when you put a little love into making these cute little potato treats. I finally got to use my food mill, I still had it in the box from the wedding. It was the one kitchen item that I was unsure about owning, and I've seen Ina Garten use it to make her buttermilk mashed potatoes. The best thing about this is you can make them ahead and freeze them, too. This recipe does make plenty, so be prepared to be rolling out some gnocchi. I didn't bother to do the indentations with a fork because I wanted to eat them! I'll make them look pretty next time.
Adapted from Joy of Cooking
2 lbs. of russet potatoes
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
1 egg, lightly beaten
1.Boil the potatoes until tender, about 30 minutes. While the potatoes are still hot, split them lengthwise and scoop out the pulp. Push it through a food ricer or force through a sieve with the back of a spoon. There should be about 2 2/3 packed cups.
2. Combine the potatoes in a bowl the flour, salt & nutmeg. Stir vigorously, then turn out onto a work surface and knead until smooth and blended. After kneading, I made a little well out of my dough and added one beaten egg and kneaded some more because the egg binds everything together. (The egg is optional, you don't have to add it.)
3. Bring 3 to 4 inches of well-salted water to a simmer in a large pot.
4. Have ready: 3 tablespoons butter, melted, or olive oil
5. Roll about 2 tablespoons of the dough into a cylinder 3/4 inch wide. Cut it into pieces 3/4 inch long. Roll each piece against the tines of a fork. (I skipped this step) Drop the gnocchi into the simmering water and cook until they float, about 2 minutes. They should hold a firm shape and be chewy to the bite.
6. If they turn out slimy and soft, knead into the dough: 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Then test again.
7. When the dough is right, roll it into 3 or 4 ropes 3/4 inch wide, cut the ropes into 3/4-inch pieces, and form the pieces as gnocchi. Drop one-third to one-half of the gnocchi into the pot and simmer, uncovered, until they float, then remove with a slotted spoon or skimmer to a wide bowl.
8. Drizzle some of the melted butter over the gnocchi. Toss to coat. Repeat until all the gnocchi are done.
9. Serve at once with: Additional melted butter and grated Parmesan cheese, a tomato sauce or ragu, or your favorite pesto sauce.
To make gnocchi ahead:
Spread the uncooked gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 12 hours. To keep them longer, freeze the gnocchi on the baking sheet until hard, then remove to a freezer bag or container. Gnocchi will keep frozen for up to 1 month. Cook directly from the freezer, adding about 1 minute to the cooking time.
Review: I served it with some grilled Italian sausages with homemade pesto, foccacia bread, dinner salad and big glass of red wine. It was a great Italian meal that was purely "amore!"