Basic Gnocchi
Chef Mario Batali of Babbo, New York, NY
Adapted by

Yield: 12 Servings

My kids both love to be in the kitchen, which makes it a lot of fun to cook for them. Although they're still a little too young to sauté mushrooms or dice onions, they're helpful nonetheless. Benno, who is almost three, will put on an apron and stand on a stool next to me, handing me things I need and asking questions. He's also a great help in tasting and adjusting seasoning. Leo, at age one, provides our entertainment while we cook, and likes to put dishes in the dishwasher - and sometimes take them out again.

Benno and Leo are a parent's - and a chef's - dream in that they really go for food that most kids their age wouldn't touch: spinach, goat's milk yogurt, raw sliced garlic, spicy sauces. The white bean bruschetta mixture I serve at PO is one of the first foods that Benno ever ate, and both boys still love it. They're also huge pasta fans, and the gnocchi with oxtails is a favorite. The soft bitew of the gnocchi in combination with slow-braised meat makes an easy-to eat dish for young kids, even while they're teething!


    Basic Gnocchi
  • 3 lbs. russet potatoes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Place the whole potatoes in a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook at a low boil until they are soft, about 45 minutes. While still warm, peel the potatoes and pass them through a vegetable mill onto a clean pasta board.

Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil. Set up an ice bath with 6 cups ice water nearby.

Make a well in the center of the potatoes and sprinkle all over with the flour. Break the egg into the center of the well, add the salt, and, using a fork, stir into the flour and potatoes as if you were making pasta. Once the egg is mixed in, bring the dough together, kneading gently until a ball is formed. Knead gently another 4 minutes, until ball is dry to the touch.

Divide the dough into 6 large balls. Roll each ball into three-fourth inch-diameter ropes and cut the ropes into 1-inch-long pieces. Flick the pieces off of a fork or along the concave side of a cheese grater to score the sides. Drop the dough pieces into the boiling water and cook until they float to the surface, about 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the gnocchi to the ice bath. Meanwhile, continue with the remaining dough, forming ropes, cutting 1-inch pieces, and flicking them off a fork. Continue until all the gnocchi have been cooked and allow them to sit several minutes in the ice bath.

Drain the gnocchi and transfer to a mixing bowl. Toss with the canola oil and store covered in the refrigerator for us to 48 hours or until ready to serve.


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