"Nonna Rosa would make gnocchi to accompany game, rabbit or venison, but as a special treat for the children, she'd set aside some dough and make this sweet version with marmalade or prunes," says Lidia Bastianich, owner of Felidia in New York City. Bastianich and her family moved to America in 1958, but her memories of her grandmother's kitchen in Istria, Italy—now part of Croatia and Slovenia—are vivid. She recalls eating these gnocchi when they were still hot from the skillet, the marmalade squirting out when she cut into them, and also helping her nonna make the dish for Sunday lunch: "I was so little that my elbows barely reached the table." Now Bastianich's own grandchildren sit at her table, learning the same recipes that she learned 50 years ago.
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1 pound baking potatoes, not peeled
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and dusting
1 cup apricot preserves
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup plain, dried bread crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
How to Make It
In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook until tender, 45 minutes. Drain, let cool slightly and peel, then pass through a ricer. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the egg and salt to the well; stir in the potatoes. Add 1 cup of the flour; stir until a stiff dough forms. Transfer the dough to a work surface and quickly knead in the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour until a smooth, firm dough forms. Add more flour if the dough is not firm or smooth; the less flour you use, the softer the dough will be.
Roll the gnocchi dough into a log and cut it into 16 pieces. Flatten 1 piece of the dough into a 3-inch round in your palm. Spoon a scant tablespoon of the preserves into the center of the dough and carefully pinch the seams together, rolling and patting the dough into a ball. Pinch together any tears and transfer the ball to a large plate dusted with flour. Repeat with the remaining dough and preserves.
In a large nonstick skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the bread crumbs and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden and very crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Transfer the crumbs to a pie plate. Wipe out the skillet.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook half of the gnocchi just until they rise to the surface, stirring once, 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a large plate and gently pat dry with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Add the gnocchi and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the gnocchi to the pie plate and roll to coat them with crumbs. Transfer to plates and serve at once.
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