This is probably the recipe that most reminds me of my paternal grandma, Mina. She used to make gnocchi for me every Wednesday for lunch and let me tell you, they were the best. They were soft, but not too soft, and she made them with melted butter, cheese and sage. They were simple, yet the most delicious dish in the world.
Needless to say, my grandma didn't have a proper recipe for her gnocchi. Like most cooks of her generation -class 1908- she knew how to make them by heart and never knew the right doses. When asked how much flour we needed, her reply was "Enough." Enough for the gnocchi to bind, but not so much that would make them doughy and hard.
So the other night my mom and I made gnocchi to celebrate my belated birthday. While we were making them we talked about grandma and when we tried the first one we all agreed that she would have been very happy with the result.
2 pounds russet potatoes
about 1 cup all-purpose flour
Boil the potatoes, with their skin on, in abundant water until tender -about 45 minutes. Remove from water and peel. Using a potato ricer mash the potatoes in a mound on your working surface. Sprinkle with salt. Beat the egg and place it on top. Slowly add the flour as you work the dough with your hands. Work the dough until moist but not sticky.
Cut the dough into thick slices. Grab one slice at the time and roll it on your working surface (sprinkled with flour) until you have what my grandma called "dough snakes", as thick as our thumb. Cut each snake into 3/4 inch long gnocchi.
Holding a fork in one hand gently but firmly roll each gnocchi down the fork's tines, giving it a "C" shape and impressing the tines on one side of the gnocchi.
Heat a large pot of water and salt it as if for making pasta. When it boils cook gnocchi in batches. When they float on the surface they are cooked, remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm in a serving bowl until all gnocchi are cooked. Serve with your favorite sauce.