For every four Idaho potatoes, throw in a Yukon Gold
Idaho or Russet potatoes are starchy and dry which helps keep the gnocchi light. I like to toss in one waxier Yukon Gold potato for added flavor, color, and a soft texture. For 4 to 6 servings, use 2 pounds of potatoes in total.
Poke a few holes in them and bake the potatoes at 400°F for about an hour, until they are very tender. It’s better to err on the side of overcooking than to have somewhat firm potatoes that don’t break down easily.
Get equipment and other ingredients ready
For 2 pounds of potatoes, use one whole egg and one yolk. Using eggs is considered a cheat by some, but to me it ensures tender gnocchi that don't fall apart.
Beat the eggs lightly with a little salt (I use 1 teaspoon Kosher salt). Add grated nutmeg and/or parmesan if you'd like.
You may not use it all, but have 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour ready. You’ll also need a food mill or potato ricer and, ideally, a bench scraper.
Process with a ricer or food mill
As soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle but still very warm, scoop out the flesh and pass them through a potato ricer or a food mill fitted with a small hole insert. Spread the potatoes onto a clean, cool, lightly floured surface.
Add eggs and flour
Drizzle the lightly beaten eggs over the potatoes, followed by a little more than half of the flour.
Work the ingredients together and bring them into one solid heap
Use the bench scraper to cut into the ingredients and gather them together.
Knead the dough together just until smooth and soft
Bring the dough together, adding flour as you go so that it becomes a workable mass. Knead the dough, continuing to add flour as necessary until the dough stops feeling sticky and forms a smooth, soft ball. You should only add just as much flour as you need to bring it together. The less flour, the lighter they will be.
Shape dough into a thick log
As soon as the dough holds together well, (smooth and pliable but not sticky) stop kneading and shape the dough into a thick log.
Scrape up your work surface, clean off your bench scraper and cut off a quarter of the dough at a time.
Roll by hand into a ½- to 3/4-inch rope
Lightly flour the work surface and use your hands, from palms to fingertips, to roll the section of dough out into a long rope. Begin in the center, work your way out to the ends of the rope, and then return to the middle again. Make sure you do not pull or tear the dough.
Cut into 1-inch pillows
You can leave your gnocchi shaped like this, transfer them to a lightly floured sheet pan while you move on to the rest of the dough. Or, you can add ridges to them (see next slide), which gives them their characteristic appearance and helps the sauce cling to the pasta.
Somersault the gnocchi over the back of a fork. I imagine a fancy high-dive trick when doing this maneuver. It takes a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, it’s no biggie.
Hold the fork in one hand with the tines pointing down. Place the gnocchi at the base of the tines. The cut sides should face either the end of the fork. With your index finger, flip the gnocchi over toward the tip of the fork and let the now-ridged gnocchi fall into a lightly floured sheet pan.
The formed gnocchi
The underside of the gnocchi will have an indentation from your finger. If you are not cooking them immediately, you can refrigerate them for a short while, but no more than a couple hours or they'll get mushy.
You can also freeze the gnocchi for a few weeks. Spread them out on a pan and freeze until solid, then transfer them into a freezer-proof bag or container.
Cook in boiling water
In two batches, cook the gnocchi briefly in a large pot of salted boiling water until they float. This takes just a minute or so, depending on the size of your gnocchi.
Alternatively, you can shock the cooked gnocchi in ice water, remove and spread them onto a baking sheet, toss with a little olive oil, and refrigerate until needed.
You’ve worked hard to make the pasta. Keep the sauce simple. Toss the gnocchi in hot tomato sauce, pesto, or a brown-butter herb sauce. Or place them in a buttered casserole dish, dot with butter, sprinkle with shredded cheese, and pass under the broiler until the cheese melts and begins to turn golden. In any case, eat them while they're hot.
They can also be stored in the fridge for up to two days until ready to serve. Just reheat by sautéing, or boiling again.