These are small balls of potato which are gently poached before eating. Italian cooks emphasize the necessity of floury/baking potatoes in this recipe to prevent the gnocchi breaking up when poached. It is also wise to purée the potatoes by hand or in a food mill; a food processor makes them too sticky. This recipe makes enough for six people as first course. Serve with a crisp salad and any pastasauce.
900g/2lbpotatoes, such as King Edwards or russet
Cook the potatoes and mash to a purée. Add the egg, salt and most of the flour. The mixture should be soft, smooth and slightly sticky. Knead for at least 5 minutes. Shape the mixture into sausage-like rolls about 2cm/1inch in diameter and cut into 1.5-cm/¾-inch pieces. To help hold the sauce, shape the gnocchi with a fork or butter pat so that they are ridged. Place about two dozen gnocchi in a large pan of lightly-salted boiling water and cook for about 30 seconds, or until they rise to the surface. Drain well and transfer to a heated dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.