To make potato gnocchi and achieve the best results, it is important to choose the right type of potato. The potato needs to be floury, with minimum water content. The best are the yellow wax potatoes, low in water and high in starch. The white or red potatoes would be too waxy, which would make the gnocchi either too heavy or too gummy, or would cause them to break apart in the boiling water. The addition of egg to the dough, not always necessary, serves the purpose of holding the preparation together better. Waxy varieties of potatoes around the world: yucan in the U.S., sebago in Australia, samsø in Denmark, charlotte and annabelle in Holland.
Boil the potatoes leaving the skins on, this will avoid absorption of excess water, too much water will cause the preparation to absorb too much flour and make the gnocchi too heavy. The potatoes will be done in 30 to 45 minutes. Peel and mash them with a potato press. Place this mound of potatoes on a wooden surface, making a hole in the middle in which you place the salt, the nut meg, and the oil. Sprinkle the flour on top and all around the potatoes. Slowly and gently mix the potatoes and the rest to obtain a fairly firm, smooth, non-sticky dough, adding some more flour if needed (exactly how much flour will depend on how moist the potatoes are). Don’t overwork the dough and don’t add too much flour. Roll the dough out into snakes about as thick as your finger, cut the snakes into one-inch pieces, and gently dust the pieces in some flour. Cook the gnocchi in abundantly salted, boiling water, removing them with a slotted spoon as soon as they rise to the surface. Drain them well and serve them with the sauce you like best: tomato sauce (page 31), or pestos (page 33-34), or butter melted with fresh sage (page 30). Sprinkle with parmesan.
Note: Gnocchi will not keep for long after they are prepared and they must be cooked soon. They can be kept covered on a floured cloth for a max of one hour; soon after, they may start releasing their moisture content and become gummy and sticky. Placing them in the refrigerator will not help since the humidity present there may cause additional damage.