The first time I had gnocchi, I was in Italy. Gnocchi is somewhat of a potato dumpling/pasta, creating a unique texture and flavor when used in place of any other type of pasta. It was served with a small bit of something akin to an alfredo sauce. It was one of those meals I wanted to savor. When I returned to the U.S., I certainly had a certain dish on my mind, so I was pleased to see it packaged at the local food co-op (I had never before seen it in a grocery store). However, it was nowhere near as tantalizing as I remembered it being, perhaps due to the piece of soil I was on.
As I was thumbing through cookbooks the other day for new dishes, I came across a recipe for potato gnocchi and instantly added it to the menu. The dough is slightly difficult to deal with and the final product was nowhere near beautiful. It was, however, much tastier than any brand I have purchased at a grocery store.
Potato Gnocchi from I Know How to Cook(slightly adapted by me)
Scant 1/3 cup butter, plus extra for greasing
2 1/4 pounds potatoes, unpeeled and quartered
2 egg yolks
*Generous 3/4 cup flour
Salt, to taste
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Gruyere, edam or swiss cheese
Grease an ovenproof 8 x 8in. dish with butter. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender (15-20 min, approximately). Drain well, cool room temperature, and peel potatoes. Mash potatoes and beat in the eggs, egg yolks, two heaping tablespoons of butter and the flour. Season with salt and nutmeg.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large pan of water to a boil over high heat. Flour a hard surface, divide dough into four equal "hunks" and roll into a snake-like shape. Cut into one inch pieces and flatten slightly with a fork. Poach them in batches, over boiling water, for 3-4 minutes or until the gnocchi floats to the top. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain well (using a colander or paper towels). Arrange the gnocchi in the greased dish. Sprinkle with cheese, dot with the remaining butter and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.
*Depending on the potatoes, the temperature, etc, you may need more flour. The dough should be pretty soft, but still able to hold a shape after being rolled out, without sticking to your fingers. Be careful, however, how much flour you add. If there is way too much, it's going to taste like flour and that's just yucky.