for the gnocchi
2 lb (approximately 1 kg) whole old russet potatoes, unpeeled
2 cups (approximately 300 gr) flour
1 egg (optional)
1 tablespoon salt
for the dressing
2 oz (60 gr) butter
4 - 5 fresh sage leaves
3 oz (90 gr) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
Wash the potatoes, place them in a large stock pot filled with water, and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are soft without overcooking to prevent them from breaking. Cooking time may vary depending on the size of the potatoes.
Peel immediately while potatoes are still hot and mash them on a work surface using a potato masher or a food mill.
When the potatoes are still warm but cool enough to be handled, shape them in a mound with a well in the center.
Add 1 cup (150 gr) of the flour the egg, and salt.
Draw the ingredients together with a fork the egg, and salt.
Draw the ingredients together with a fork and mix to form a dough.
At this point the dough will be sticky on your hands. Sprinkle a little of the remaining flour on the dough and work the dough with your hands until the potato dough incorporates the flour.
Continue adding flour a little at a time and kneading the dough, until the potato dough is no longer too sticky. The dough must be soft and fluffy: avoid incorporating too much flour.
Cut the dough into four pieces. Sprinkle the work surface with a little flour, and place the first piece on it. Roll the dough into one or two long sticks approximately 3/4 inch (2 cm) in diameter.Then cut the sticks into pieces 3/4 inch (2 cm) long. Roll the pieces in your hands to give them a rounded oval shape.
There are many techniques to indent the gnocchi and create a ridged surface:
Roll the pieces along the prongs of a common fork using one finger, in a way that the side of the piece running along the fork will be ruffled and the side you are pressing with your finger will be a little concave.
Roll the pieces along the the surface of a cheese grater.
Roll the pieces along the special ridged tool sold in kitchen specialty stores.
Or simply press the gnocchi with your thumb with a rolling motion to create a small concavity.
Work constantly on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the gnocchi on a dry and clean cloth. Repeat these steps with the rest of the dough.
Fill a stockpot three quarters full with water, bring to a boil, and add salt. When the water is at a fast boil, drop the gnocchi in a few at a time to avoid damaging them. The gnocchi will fall to the bottom of the pot.
In a skillet large enough to contain the gnocchi, place the butter and sage leave. Turn heat to medium to melt the butter.
After about 1 – 2 minutes the gnocchi will come up to the surface, and this will be the sign that they are cooked. Don't drain gnocchi in a colander as you would do with pasta. Gnocchi are very soft and may be damaged. Instead remove them as soon as they float to the surface, with the help of a large slotted spoon or strainer, draining thoroughly.
Transfer the gnocchi to the skillet and sauté briefly, stirring gently with a large spoon, until the gnocchi are fully covered by the butter.
Transfer to a serving dish, top with the grated parmigiano cheese. Serve hot at once.