Peel the potatoes and cut them into uniform chunks, then boil them in lots of lightly salted water until just done, about 20 minutes. Drain through a colander and return to the pan, shaking over a low heat to drive off all moisture. Be careful not to burn them. Mash thoroughly. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Put on a large pan of salted water to boil for the gnocchi. Beat the self-raising flour and egg white into the mashed potato, then season with freshly grated nutmeg and pepper. You should have an elastic, malleable dough. Turn it t out on a floured surface and divide it into 4, rolling each into a long sausage shape with a diameter of about
Preheat the grill. Cook the gnocchi immediately in the rapidly boiling salted water. They deteriorate quickly when left sitting around and will discolour with oxidization. They float to the surface when done, but to be sure to leave them on the surface for about 20–30 seconds before scooping them out, draining them well and transferring them to a warmed flameproof dish.
Dot with butter and scatter with freshly grated Parmesan and flash under the grill for a minute or so until nicely browned, or serve with a tomato sauce or pesto.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.