You just need 4 large potatoes or 6 small potatoes; 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour; 1/2 cup more for working dough; and an egg for 4-6 servings. (To make cheese-potato gnocchi, just add 1/2 cup ricotta and 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.)
Boil potatoes with skins on so they don’t absorb too much water. Boil about 20 minutes or until fork tender. Over-boiling will cause potatoes to become mushy and too wet. Remove potatoes and drain well. Cool and peel. Then use a potato ricer to rice your peeled potatoes. If they appear watery, use a dish towel to absorb excess water. Mound riced potato on the middle of a wooden board or a clean, dry countertop. Top with flour. Sprinkle with salt.
Scoop out the center of your mound to make a “well.” Break egg into the center of the well. Beat the egg with a fork. (This is where you would add the cheese.) Using the fork, slowly start to pull in flour and potato to mix. Use your hands to combine ingredients and knead to form dough. Be careful not to over-knead or add too much flour. Too much flour will result in hard gnocchi. Knead just enough for the dough to come together. Dough should have a loose airy texture – not gooey or dense.
Shape dough into a long, wide rectangle. Cut dough into 8-10 pieces, about 4 inches long. Roll each piece evenly into “rope.” For shorter, heavier gnocchi, roll dough into thick ropes. For thinner gnocchi, roll longer ropes. Using a pastry cutter or non-serrated knife, cut ropes into 1-inch pieces on an angle. You can use a fork to create ridges or indent gently with your thumb if you want to add a little extra flair. To prevent sticking, keep gnocchi in a cool area. Toss with flour to prep for cooking or freezing.
To cook your gnocchi, gently shake off excess flour and place in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook gnocchi until they float to the top, about 2-4 minutes. Gently remove them with a slotted spoon, drain well. Toss into a saucepan with your favorite sauce and cook together for about 2 minutes. Do not wait longer than 45 minutes to cook gnocchi or they will begin to stick to each other.
To freeze your gnocchi, arrange on a baking sheet with excess flour to keep from sticking. Place baking sheet in the freezer for about 2 hours, or until they are completely frozen. Once they are frozen, remove from pan and store until you are ready to cook. Do not thaw gnocchi. Cook frozen gnocchi in boiling water. Gnocchi can be frozen for up to 2 months.
You can also cook and refrigerate gnocchi so that when you are ready to serve, you simply warm with sauce in a pan. Once cooked, gently remove gnocchi and place into a bowl of ice cold water to cool. Drain well and toss lightly with a touch of olive oil to prevent sticking. You can refrigerate in a covered container for up to 2 days.
This is a slightly abbreviated version of a recipe with photos that can be found on delallo.com.