This is my basic potato gnocchi recipe. I was given the tip years ago from a wonderful Italian cook to bake rather than boil the potatoes. This gives more flavor to the gnocchi, and keeps the moisture level low allowing you to use less flour.
In this recipe, soft potato dumplings are topped with fresh tomato basil sauce, and chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese are folded into the hot dish just before serving. You will not need the entire 4 cups of sauce for the gnocchi, so just store the remainder in the refrigerator for another use.
Good quality imported tomatoes from Italy are so flavorful you can eat them right out of the can. I prefer to use Pomi brand, from Italy which you find in a box that is a little less than 28 ounces. Many groceries today do sell imported tomatoes, but certainly if you can’t find them in your local grocery, an Italian specialty store will stock them.
For The Gnocchi:
- 4 Medium Sized Potatoes (about 2 pounds)
- 1 Large Egg Yolk
- 1-2 Cups Of Flour
For The Sauce:
- 1 (28 Ounce) Can Imported Diced Italian Tomatoes (Or 1 26.5 Ounce Box Pomi Brand Chopped Tomatoes)
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Basil
- Dash Of Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)
- 2 Cups Fresh Mozzarella Cut Into 3/4 Inch Chunks
- 3 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Basil
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Wash & dry the potatoes, then bake the potatoes until they are fork tender, about 45 minutes.
- While the potatoes are baking prepare the sauce.
- Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, and add the garlic.
- As soon as the garlic begins to sizzle, but before it takes on color, add the tomatoes.
- Turn the heat to high, and as soon as the sauce begins to bubble, turn back down to medium low.
- Season with salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes if you are using them, and add the basil.
- Cook for another minute of two and remove from the heat.
- Remove the potatoes from the oven and scoop out the pulp from the skins and press it through a potato ricer.
- While still warm, place the riced potatoes on a large board forming a mound with a hole in the center. add the yolk and the salt into the center.
- Slowly start adding the flour a little at a time, mixing well with your hands and continue until you have created a soft workable dough.
- Knead gently only briefly until you have achieved a smooth, pliable if slightly sticky dough.
- To shape the gnocchi, first break the dough into fist sized pieces, and roll each piece into a log about the thickness of your thumb.
- Cut into 1 inch pieces.
- To finish, take a fork and place it against your work board.
- With it's back towards you, press each piece of dough with your index finger firmly up the length of the fork tines.
- Let the gnocchi fall back onto the board and continue with the remaining pieces in this manner.
- Place the prepared gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet and either cook immediately, or keep refrigerated until ready to use, preferably not more than 3 hours.
- To cook, drop carefully into salted boiling water and remove immediately as they have all floated to the surface.
- Drain the gnocchi and top with the hot sauce.
- Add the chunks of cheese along with the chopped basil, and stir carefully so the cheese begins to soften and melt.
- Serve immediately.