Basic potato gnocchi
Adapted from Lidia's Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali
Gnocchi are wonderful in butter and sage sauce, or pesto, or bolognese sauce. Or just toss them in butter and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
2 1/4 pounds Idaho or russet potatoes (about 3 medium-large potatoes)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
3 cups unbleached flour, plus more as needed
1. Boil the potatoes in their skins until easily pierced with a paring knife, about 35 to 40 minutes. When they are 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.
2. On a cool, preferably marble work surface, gather the cold potatoes into a mound, forming a well in the center. Stir the teaspoon of 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 bench scraper 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 the gnocchi will become.)
3. Sprinkle flour over a sheet pan – this is where you'll set the finished gnocchi. 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 1/2 inch thick, then slice the ropes at 1/2 inch intervals. Roll the balls of dough off the tines of a fork, making an indentation with your thumb as you roll, while leaving ridges from the tines of the fork on the other side. Rest them on the floured sheet pan as you make the remaining gnocchi.
4. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil to cook the gnocchi. (While you wait for the water to boil, you might make a simple sauce – such as butter and sage sauce – or grate some parmesan cheese, if you're going to toss the gnocchi in butter and cheese, or heat a pre-made sauce like bolognese.) Shake excess flour from the gnocchi and add to the boiling water (don't crowd them; cook in batches if neccessary). Once the gnocchi rise to the surface, cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon or small strainer and transfer directly to your choice of sauce.