Potato Dumplings With Basil Sauce


2 1/4 lb (1 kg) floury potatoes
7 oz (200 g) plain flour
1 egg
5 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
unsalted butter
salt and pepper

for the pesto (genoese basil sauce):

1 large bunch fresh basil
1 1/2 oz (40 g) freshly grated Pecorino cheese
1 1/2 oz (40 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp pine nuts
1 small clove garlic, peeled
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt


1. Steam or boil the potatoes. While they are cooking, make the basil sauce: take all the leaves off the stalks, rinse the leaves and blot dry with kitchen
paper. Place in the food processor with the cheeses, garlic, pine nuts and a pinch of sea salt. Process to a thick, smooth paste.

2. Peel the potatoes while they are still boiling hot and mash them with a potato ricer or by pushing them through a sieve into a large mixing bowl, working quickly so that they are still hot and easy to push through.

3. Use your hands to mix in the sifted flour a little at a time, adding a pinch of salt and pepper, a pinch of grated nutmeg, the finely grated Parmesan cheese and the egg. The resulting potato dough should be firm, smooth and easy to shape.

4. Break off about a quarter of the dough; using the palms of your hands roll it on a lightly floured pastry board or working surface into a long cylinder or sausage about 3/4 in (2 cm) in diameter. Cut into 1 in (2 1/2 cm) lengths. Repeat this process with the remaining dough.

5. Press these pieces one by one against the prongs of a fork, forming a hollow on one side of each dumpling; the other side will be rounded and patterned with the prongs. As you shape them, place on a clean cloth or board dusted with sifted flour. Sprinkle lightly with sifted flour.

6. Shortly before you plan to serve the gnocchi, bring plenty of salted water to an even, gentle boil in a very wide, deep saucepan. Add the gnocchi to the boiling water in batches. They will soon bob up to the surface: this means they are done; remove with a slotted spoon and place in a colander on a plate beside the saucepan.

7. As soon as the last batch has cooked, transfer the gnocchi to very hot individual plates, top with a little unsalted butter and the basil sauce.

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