Saturday, September 29, 2007

Gnocchi di Patate (Basic Potato Dumplings)

Another staple in Italian cuisine is Gnocchi. These tasty potato dumplings are very easy to prepare, and can be served in many ways, including topped with various melted Italian cheeses, or smothered with your favorite homemade tomato sauce.

Gnocchi di Patate
4 servings

4 medium white (Idaho or Russet) potatoes, about 2lbs.
1 Tbl salt
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 and 1/2 to 2 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375F. Wash and dry potatoes. With a knife, make a long incision in the potatoes lengthwise, about 1/2 inch deep.
Bake potatoes till tender, 45-55 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel potatoes, and mash well. Add salt, egg yolk, and 1 and 1/2 cups flour. Mix with hands until dough begins to stick together.
Transfer the mixture to a wooden board and knead lightly, gradually adding remaining flour if dough sticks to board and hands. (The making of the dough should take no longer than 4-5 minutes.) Dough is ready when it is soft, pliable, and just a little bit sticky.
Cut dough in pieces the size of an orange. Flour hands lightly. Using both hands, roll out dough with a light back and forth motion into a roll about the thickness of your thumb. Cut each roll into 1 inch thick pieces.
Hold a fork with its tines against the board, curved part of fork facing away from you. Starting from outside of bottom curve, press each piece of dough with index finger firmly upward along the length of the tines. Let the gnocchi fall back onto the surface. Roll out the remaining dough, and repeat steps above.. Place gnocchi on lightly floured plate or baking sheet. They can be cooked immediately, or refrigerated (uncovered) several hours or overnight.
To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add gnocchi, and cook, uncovered, over high heat, until gnocchi rise to surface, about 1-2 minutes. Serve piping hot, with your favorite melted cheese or tomato sauce.

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