The key to making superlight gnocchi that won’t sink in your stomach is to roast, rather than boil, the potatoes—roasting prevents them from becoming waterlogged. Once the potatoes are cooked, immediately peel and pass them through a ricer to release the steam and remove lumps. (Waiting for the potatoes to cool will make for heavy gnocchi.) But be forewarned: They don’t call them “hot potatoes” for nothing. Italian grandmas who have been making gnocchi for years, like Paola Bagnatori, don’t need to wear rubber gloves for this step. But for those of us who don’t have asbestos fingers, we recommend them. You can watch Paola prepare this recipe with her granddaughter Isabella Ross in our Cooking with Grandma video.
Special equipment: Investing in a potato ricer is invaluable for all potato mashing chores. It creates a consistency unattainable with a regular potato masher.
Game plan: Before tackling the gnocchi, start preparing the Tomato-Porcini Sauce. While the mushrooms slowly heat up in water, roast the potatoes. Then rice the potatoes and begin gnocchi-making. After the gnocchi are formed, return to making the sauce. Finally, boil the gnocchi and top with the sauce.
Extra tip: Raw gnocchi freeze exceptionally well. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, making sure they’re not touching. Set the pan in the freezer until the gnocchi are frozen solid, so they won’t stick together when stored. Pop each gnocchi off the baking sheet and place in a resealable freezer bag. Keep in the freezer for no more than a month. To cook, toss the frozen gnocchi into boiling water and cook as instructed below. (Do not let them thaw before cooking.)