1/4teaspoonfreshly ground pepper,use white pepper if you have it
1/4cupfreshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 1/2 - 2cupsunbleached all-purpose flour,more as needed
serve with Romesco or Pesto Sauce,thinned with oil or cream
Wash the exterior of the potatoes and prick each one with a fork. Wrap in foil then bake the potatoes in a preheated 400°F oven until tender, about 40 minutes.
Let the potatoes cool enough to handle, then use a spoon to carve out the potato from the skin. Try and get as much of the potato from the skin as possible. Press the peeled potatoes through a ricer or a cheese grater then let them cool completely.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg, salt, pepper, and herb of choice together. Gather the potatoes into a mound and form a well in the center. Pour the egg mixture into the well. Knead the potato and egg mixtures together with both hands, gradually adding the grated cheese and enough of the flour, about 1 1/2 cups, to form a smooth but slightly sticky dough. It should take no longer than 3 minutes to work the flour into the potato mixture.
Wash and dry your hands. Dust the dough, your hands, and the work surface lightly with some of the remaining flour. Separate the dough into six equal pieces and set off to one side of the work surface. Place one ball of dough in front of you and roll the dough into a rope 1/2 inch thick, flouring the dough if necessary as you roll to keep it from sticking.
Slice the ropes into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Sprinkle the rounds lightly with flour then use a form to gently press the back side of the tines of the fork into each round. Set on a baking sheet lined with a floured kitchen towel and continue forming gnocchi from the remaining dough balls. Repeat the whole process with the remaining pieces of dough. At this point the gnocchi must be cooked immediately or frozen.
To cook gnocchi:
Bring six quarts of salted water to a vigorous boil in a large pot over high heat. Drop about half the gnocchi into the boiling water a few at a time, stirring gently and continuously with a wooden spoon. Cook the gnocchi, until tender, about 1 minute (they are ready when they rise to the surface of the water). Use a slotted spoon to remove the gnocchi from the hot water to a separate serving platter.
Cook the remaining gnocchi, if necessary. When all the gnocchi are cooked, pour warmed sauce over the top (use some of the cooking water from the gnocchi if your sauce seems too thick.
To freeze gnocchi:
It is best to freeze gnocchi uncooked as soon as they are shaped. Arrange the gnocchi in a single layer on a baking pan and place the pan in a level position in the freezer. Freeze until solid, about 3 hours. Gather the frozen gnocchi into resealable freezer bags. Frozen gnocchi can be stored in the freezer for 4 to 6 weeks.
To cook frozen gnocchi:
Frozen gnocchi must be cooked directly from the freezer in plenty of boiling water, or they will stick together. Bring 6 quarts salted water to a boil in each of two large pots. Shake any excess flour from the frozen gnocchi and split them between the two pots, stirring gently as you add them to the boiling water. It is important that the water return to a boil as soon as possible; cover the pots if necessary. Drain the gnocchi as described above and sauce and serve according to the specific recipe.
I like to use an herb that coordinates with the rest of the dish that I'm serving like thyme with mushrooms or basil with a marinara