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For the lightest, most tender gnocchi, avoid excess moisture in your dough. First, start with baked potatoes, not boiled ones. Once you’ve peeled and mashed them, allow them to cool and steam to release before preparing the gnocchi dough. They’ll cook in just a couple of minutes in boiling water, and then a simple butter and Parmesan pan sauce is all you need to finish this Italian classic.

Liz Mervosh

Gallery

© Frances Janisch

Recipe Summary

active:
45 mins
total:
2 hrs 30 mins
Yield:
4 to 6
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Place potatoes directly on middle rack in preheated oven. Bake until very tender when pierced with a paring knife, 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Carefully cut potatoes in half lengthwise; let stand until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Using a paring knife, peel potatoes, and discard skins. 

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  • Press potatoes through a potato ricer (or thoroughly mash in a bowl and then place) onto a clean work surface; spread in an even layer. Let cool until almost room temperature, about 8 minutes. Drizzle egg yolk evenly over potatoes. Sprinkle salt and 1/2 cup of the flour evenly over potatoes and egg yolk. Using a bench scraper or a rubber spatula, very gently fold mixture over onto itself several times, gradually folding in remaining 1/2 cup flour just until all flour is incorporated and dough comes together in a mass. Do not knead or overwork. 

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and lightly dust with flour; set aside. Clean work surface, and lightly dust with flour. Divide dough evenly into 4 pieces, about 5 1/4 ounces each. Roll 1 dough piece into a 3/4-inch-thick rope, about 9 inches long. Cut rope crosswise into 3/4-inch-long gnocchi pieces. Roll each piece against tines of a fork to make ridges; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining 3 dough pieces. 

  • Bring salted water to a boil in a 4-quart stockpot over high. Add half of gnocchi to boiling water, and gently stir once. Cook until gnocchi rise to surface, about 2 minutes, and then gently boil 1 more minute, reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle boil. While gnocchi cooks, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked gnocchi to skillet; add 3 tablespoons gnocchi cooking liquid. Cook, stirring constantly, until a creamy and loose butter sauce forms and coats gnocchi, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper to taste; place in 2 serving bowls. 

  • Repeat Step 3 with remaining gnocchi and 3 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle each serving with grated cheese and nutmeg. Serve immediately.

Make Ahead

The uncooked gnocchi pieces can be frozen on the prepared baking sheet, then transferred to a resealable plastic bag and frozen for up to 1 month. Boil without defrosting.

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