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Gnocchi, pronounced "no-kee," are little Italian potato dumplings which are served in place of pasta or rice. Perfect gnocchi is made with boiled potatoes which have been "dried" in the pot to remove moisture. They can then be mashed with eggs and seasonings and cooked like dumplings in soup. The preferred method in my kitchen is to fry them in butter over medium-high heat so the butter browns and the gnocchi develop a crisp outer crust. You may prefer to poach them in soup.

    4 russet potatoes (1 ½ pounds)
    ½ teaspoon seasoning salt
    ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground mixed peppercorns
    1 tablespoon butter
    ½ teaspoon dried parsley
    1 large egg
    1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1.  Peel and cube the potatoes. Bring water to boil in a 3-quart
     saucepan. Boil until potatoes are soft, then drain.

2.  Return to the saucepan and mash potatoes over medium heat.
     Stir and allow potatoes to dry out slightly for about 3 minutes.

3.  Remove from heat and stir in seasoning salt, pepper, butter
     and parsley. Add egg, then flour to make a soft dough. Let
     the dough rest at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator.

4.  On a well-floured breadboard, divide the dough into pieces.
     Roll each piece into a ¾-inch wide rope. Cut into 1-inch
     long pieces.

5.  Use a fork dipped in flour to press once into the end of each
     piece or roll the piece of dough over the fork prongs to give it
     a pattern effect. The gnocchi will look like a bear claw or a
     ridged roll. They can be frozen at this point.

6.  Cook gnocchi on top of your favorite soup, in chicken stock
     or fry in butter. There are many ways to serve gnocchi. 
Fry gnocchi in butter. Once cooked, sprinkle with
     garlic salt and freshly ground Tellicherry peppercorns.
     Tomato sauce: Fry or poach gnocchi then, top with Marinara
      sauce and grated parmesan cheese.

     Pesto sauce: Fry gnocchi in butter, then make a sauce. In
     a large mortar and pestle, crush 2 cups sweet basil leaves,
     ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese,
     2 tablespoons olive oil and 4 garlic cloves. Heat in a sauté
     pan, then add salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the gnocchi.
     You can use a blender if you prefer, but it is not highly
     recommended by most cooks.
     Parmesan: Fry gnocchi in butter, then toss with parmesan
     cheese and more butter.
     Makes 4 servings


Seasoned with Love
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