Ultimate Yukon Gold Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce
(loosely adapted from How to Cook Italian and New Italian Cooking)
Potato Gnocchi (Serves 4 to 6)
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 4 large potatoes)
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling and shaping
- Salt for salting the cooking water
1. Scrub the potatoes and place them in a large pot. Add cold water to cover, place pot over high heat, and bring the water to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until potatoes are just tender, 30 to 35 minutes. (Do not test too often.) Drain the potatoes and wait until they are just cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Generously flour a work surface, and then put the potatoes through the medium disk of a potato ricer and onto the floured work surface. (Potato skin will remain in the ricer - discard it.)
2. Sprinkle on one cup of the flour, and knead flour and potatoes to combine. Add additional flour, about a quarter cup at a time, until the dough holds together. (You may not use all the flour.) When it is ready, the dough should feel like the skin of your earlobe, although it will be slightly sticky.
3. To test the dough, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Roll a small piece of the dough into a rope about half an inch thick, and cut into three-quarter-inch-long pieces. Drop the test gnocchi into the boiling water, wait until they bob to the surface, and then count to 10. Drain and taste. The gnocchi should hold together (if not, add more flour to the dough) but have a soft texture. When the dough is satisfactory, move it aside, clean the work surface with a dough scraper, and then reflour the work surface.
4. Lightly flour 2 jelly-roll pans. (If you plan to freeze the gnocchi, line the pans with parchment and flour the parchment.) Divide the dough into 8 pieces. On the floured work surface, roll one piece of dough into a rope about half an inch in diameter. Cut the rope into three-quarter-inch-long pieces. Hold a fork vertically in one hand, with the back of the fork facing you. With an index finger, press one of the gnocchi horizontally against the front of the fork and let it fall onto a floured pan. Each of the gnocchi should have ridges on one side (to trap the sauce) and an indentation on the other. Repeat with remaining dough, keeping gnocchi in one layer on the pans.
5. Either freeze the gnocchi on the pans and then transfer them to plastic bags, or cook them the same day. (Gnocchi keep at room temperature for 4 to 5 hours; do not refrigerate.)
6. To cook gnocchi, fill a very large pot with water and bring to a boil. Salt generously (about 2 tablespoons of salt for 4 quarts of water) and add about a quarter of the gnocchi. (Do not thaw frozen gnocchi.) Do not stir the gnocchi. In a short time, they will bob gently to the surface. About 10 seconds later, scoop them out with a strainer, drain, and transfer to a serving bowl. Repeat with remaining gnocchi.
- 4 cups canned peeled tomatoes with their juices, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 10 basil leaves
1. Combine the tomatoes, the onion, and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium pot and salt to taste. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently until all the liquid has evaporated, 30 to 45 minutes.
2. Puree the sauce through the medium disk of a food mill. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and spoon sauce over gnocchi. Garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately.