Gnocchi Di Patate


Nonna Margherita Dottorelli in her kitchen in 1905

Nonna Margherita Dottorelli in her kitchen, 1905

Some excellent Tuscan recipes from her granddaughter Marta, who refuses to be just a character in a novel made up by that writer 


That writer does not tell you how many good things I bring to the house of the beautiful Signora Chiara – or that without me, the beautiful Signora (with so many complications in her life) would forget to eat.

Now it is January. My husband Niccolo has killed our pig. All the good sausages and hams are hanging in the attic. And here in our farm house we eat very simply for a while.
       Every week, naturalmente I make my good ragu.
       But now, instead of pasta, I like to use the big floury potatoes from the root cellar to make gnocci which is a most comfortable meal for winter days – and senza dubbio I bring some to Signora Chiara too.

Ecco! La mia ricetta!

Pot with mortar and pestle and potoatos on table

You will need
two pounds of potatoes (the big “floury” ones)
one egg
3 cups of flour

Boil the potatoes (do not peel!) in salted water until they are just done. Drain them while they are hot.
       Wearing your rubber gloves, slide off the skins with a little knife.
       Mash them or put them through a “ricer” to make them nicely with fluffiness.
       On your very clean table, put them in a little mountain
       Add the flour and two good pinches of salt
       Mix this all together lightly and then make a “hole” in the little mountain and into this break your egg.
       Knead this together but not too much.
       Make it into a flattened “round” and divide into four pieces.
       Take the first piece and roll it out into a very long sausage about as thick as your finger. Cut this into little pieces about one inch of length.
       Roll each of these over the tines of a fork – or use a gnocchiroller, to make the little ridges and hollows where the sauce will cling.

gnocchi roller

Like this …Slide these, a few at a time, into boiling salted water. They are done when they float to the top. Lift them out with your kitchen spoon that has the little holes in it, drain them well, and put them into a warmed bowl.

Then over these you can pour your ragu — a layer of the little potato dumplings and a layer of sauce, repeating as often as you want – and you will have the best thing to eat on a cold January night.

gnocchi di patate on table before cooking
cooked gnocchi di patate