BASIC POTATO GNOCCHI

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Kids love gnocchi. Adults love gnocchi. Even our household pets eat gnocchi
(without the cheese, of course). There is something about the warming feeling of
satisfaction after eating a plate of delicious gnocchi that makes this little dumpling
rank high on everyone’s list. Potato gnocchi is something I made often as a child,
helping Grandma and Mom prepare what was usually Sunday dinner.
People shy away from making gnocchi, but they are rather simple to make. There
are two things to remember: Once you have riced the potatoes, spread them out,
and let them cool completely. Do not overknead the dough, but, rather, work it just
enough to incorporate the ingredients together.
SERVES 6
6 large Idaho or russet potatoes
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon salt
Dash of freshly ground white pepper
2 eggs, beaten
About 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving (optional)
Boil the potatoes in their skins for about 40 minutes, until easily pierced with a skewer.
When cool enough to handle, peel and rice the potatoes, and set them aside to cool
completely, spreading them loosely to expose as much surface as possible to air.
Bring 6 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of the salt to a boil in a large pot. On a
cool, preferably marble work surface, gather the cold potatoes into a mound, forming a
well in the center. Stir the remaining teaspoon salt and the white pepper into the beaten
eggs, and pour the mixture into the well. Work the potatoes and eggs together with both
hands, gradually adding 3 cups of the flour and scraping the dough up from the work
surface with a knife as often as necessary. (Incorporation of the ingredients should take
no longer than 10 minutes—the longer you work it, the more flour it will require and
the heavier it will become.)
Dust the dough, your hands, and the work surface lightly with flour and cut the dough
into six equal parts. (Continue to dust as long as the dough feels sticky.) Using both
hands, roll each piece of dough into a rope ½-inch thick, then slice the ropes at ½-inch
intervals. Indent each dumpling with a thumb, or use the tines of a fork to produce a
ribbed effect. (This helps the sauce stick to the gnocchi.)
Drop the gnocchi into boiling water a few at a time, stirring gently and continuously
with a wooden spoon, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until they float up to the surface.
Remove the gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer them to a
warm platter, and add a little sauce of your choice. Add freshly ground white pepper to
taste and, if appropriate, grated cheese, and serve immediately.
Gnocchi can be delicious with just butter and ch

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