As the second installment of Jersey Shore-inspired Italian meals, I present Gnocchi (pronounced "nyocki"). The first time I ever tasted and heard of gnocchi was at a dinner that was used to get me out of the house for a surprise 17th birthday party. The location was Italy's Little Kitchen and I remember thinking, "Oh, Gnocchi! Where have you been all my life?" Having grown up with an express love for mashed potatoes and fettuccine alfredo, I thought, "You mean to tell me that I can have potatoes and pasta in one dish?!" Haha.. Now that I am more well-versed in nutrition, I realize this seems a little carb-crazy, but all things are good in moderation. And some things, like this, are really good.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poke potatoes all over with a fork and bake on a baking sheet for 45 minutes to one hour, until potatoes are fork-tender. For best results, turn potatoes over halfway through baking. Let potatoes cool slightly. (It helps to let cool in the freezer for a few minutes if you're impatient, like me.)
Peel the potatoes, then grate them using the large holes of a grater into a large bowl. Add lightly beaten egg and salt to the grated potatoes and mix well with a wooden spoon.
Add the flour to the potatoes, a little at a time, using only enough so that the dough will not stick to your hands. Once the flour has been incorporated, bring the dough together and dump onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough, as you would bread dough, for about 3-4 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball, and then portion it out into six smaller balls. On a floured surface, use your fingers to roll one of the six dough balls into a 3/4-inch wide rope. Cut the dough into 1 inch pieces.
You can cook the gnocchi as it is now, but traditional gnocchi has ridges. You can create these by pressing each piece of dough on the tines of a fork and then rolling it off and forming a cylinder shape. It helps to dip the fork into flour in between each formation to avoid sticking.
To cook the gnocchi, place each dough piece into a pot of boiling and well-salted water. After a few minutes, the gnocchi will float to the top. Let cook one more minute, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Serve with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese and enjoy.