Ingredients for 4 people:400 g potato150 g plain flour salt
“Gnocco” is a word from the Lombard language (“knohha”, meaning knot or knuckle) which dates back as far as Medieval times. It defines anything made of dough that has a rounded shape.
Wash the potatoes thoroughly, then put them, with their skins on, in cold water with a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. When they are well cooked (check with a fork to see if they’re done), take them out of the water and peel them as soon as possible, while still hot. Squash them with a potato masher or put them through a food mill. Put the mashed potato on your table and mix it with the flour and a pinch of salt, amalgamating everything thoroughly until the mixture becomes smooth and elastic, but is still soft. You mustn’t add too much flour, otherwise the gnocchi will be hard; if you add too little, they’ll fall apart in the water. Roll the dough into ropes about the diameter of a finger and cut them into pieces 2 cm long (3 cm if you prefer slightly larger gnocchi). Now use your finger to make sort of indentation in the centre of each one, so they look like a sort of “curl”. Lay a tea towel on your work surface and sprinkle it with flour: place your gnocchi on it and leave them to rest for about half an hour. Cook them in boiling, salted water (boiling! ...otherwise they’ll fall apart). They’re cooked when they come to the surface: remove them, quickly, with a slotted spoon as they rise, and dress them as you wish. They’re excellent with pomarola tomato sauce or meat ragu, as well s with pesto or simply with melted butter (always with a good grating of cheese on top).
This delicious first course is a dish from our area, with its origins in the past, in poorer times. People used to cook with what little there was in the vegetable garden, and, in those days, this food was coveted and important. In fact, a saying from those days says “Ridete bambini, che mamma ha fatto gli gnocchi” (= Laugh children because mother has prepared gnocchi), and children are usually very fond of gnocchi, even today!