While working at Fundación Alicia in Spain, one of our last duties as an intern was to make a dish that is typical of where we live — that was an intimidating task considering that two of the staff were elBulli chefs. My Italian roommate and fellow intern, Michela, wanted to do a trial run of her dish, gnocchi, at the apartment. Again, we cooked side-by-side, as I made the gluten-free version of her gnocchi.
She explained that gnocchi is a very basic ratio: 1 kilogram of potatoes to 100 grams of flour to 1 egg with a generous pinch of salt. While working at a restaurant in Bologna, she made 10 kilogram batches of gnocchi on a regular basis. (That is 22 pounds: a lot of gnocchi.) The secret to perfect gnocchi, she confided, was that half the potatoes should be starchy (russets/Idaho) and the other half waxy (red). The flour has very little impact in this recipe, and I figured that potato flour made the most sense to use since it's naturally gluten-free. It makes so much sense that I wonder why all potato gnocchi is not made with potato starch.
For her presentation, Michela made sauces in colors of the Italian flag for the gnocchi — red tomato sauce, white gorgonzola sauce, and green pesto. This presentation does make a statement for a special occasion, but I wanted to simplify the sauces to just one. Tomato sauce is so easy to make, delicious, and still makes for a special dinner. Once you try this recipe, you will never go back to jarred pasta sauce. Though gnocchi do require significant work, it is a great way to show your love for someone through good food.