Potato Gnocchi with Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella
Serves 6 as a second course, 4 as a main.
4 russet or baking potatoes
1 large egg, beaten well
4 ounces all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ½ cups fresh or canned tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped
4 to 5 ounces fresh milk mozzarella, diced
Torn basil leaves to garnish, optional
Finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, optional
Preheat an oven to 400F. Pierce the potatoes many times with the tines of a fork. Bake the potatoes until they are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and while still hot, with a potato ricer, rice the potatoes onto a baking sheet. Spread the potatoes to dry them out and let cool.
Measure 1 pound of cooled potatoes. Beat the egg with a fork until well beaten. Using the fork, combine the riced potatoes and egg. Sprinkle the flour and salt over the top and with the fork, bring the dough together. Do not work the dough too much. Knead slightly for 30 seconds.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece on a very lightly floured surface into a 12-inch long rope ½-inch diameter. With a knife, cut the rope into ¾-inc pieces.
Holding the fork cut-side down with the tines away from you, flatten the gnocchi onto the back of the fork and roll the gnocchi off and away from you forming a curl. Place the gnocchi on a baking sheet covered with a linen towel dusted with flour. Set aside in a dry place.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, over medium high heat, warm the olive oil in a large frying pan until rippling. Add the tomatoes and cook until simmering 5 minutes. Season with salt.
Boil the gnocchi until they float to the top, about 3 to 4 minutes. Toss with the warmed tomato sauce and place on a warm platter. Add the cheese and optional basil and toss gently.