When you are going to take on a dinner party for more than four and you promise home-made gnocchi, it is good to have a lot of hands on deck. Gnocchi is relatively easy to make but the process is a little long.
I begin by baking potatoes. Roughly a half of a large russet potato per person should work. I did six large ones. You then rice them and then sift in, lightly tossing after each cup, three cups of unbleached all purpose flour. After it is tossed, it should start to come together to form a dough.
The dough then gets formed into a small ball and then rolled out, like a snake, about 1/2" in diameter (even thinner, if you like). The snake is then cut into 3/4" sections and then rolled down the gnocchi board to give it grooves. You can also do this with a fork.
We had a full assembly line going and lots of hands on the groove-making. I think that everyone enjoyed it, for the first half-hour, at least.
Because we had so many hands at work on them, the result looked like a collection of sea shells. It was very cool.
After my minions relieved themselves of their duties, I made another batch of ricotta gnocchi on my own. For this batch, I used 1 1/2 cups of ricotta, four egg yolks and just over a cup of flour. I also put a dash of nutmeg in them. These came out a little more uniform in shape and size.
Gnocchi get boiled until they float to the top of the water and then sauteed in the sauce of your choice. I made three sauces tonight. One was a pesto cream, another was a pink sauce made with cream added to a red sauce base with pork and fennel. For the ricotta gnocchi, I made an Alfredo with a little nutmeg.
The gnocchi were very tasty. I liked the ricotta the best but the favorite for everyone else was the potato gnocchi in the pink sauce.