Ditalini’s Aunt Joyce, a first-generation Italian-American and today the matriarch of the della Fagiolis, taught us this authentic gnocchi recipe, brought to the USA from Vittorio Veneto when the family emigrated.
Bake the potatoes in their skins until done. Using towels and a sharp knife, peel the potatoes and rice them while they’re still hot. Make a mound of the riced potatoes, then shape a depression in the middle. Add in the flour, egg, and seasonings and knead into a soft, elastic dough.
Cut off sections of the dough and roll them into long tubes about 2/3″ diameter. Cut into 1″ lengths. One at a time, roll them gently across a gnocchi paddle with your thumb and arrange the individual gnocchis on a baking pan dusted with flour. When you’ve rolled all the gnocchi, assuming you used 5 lbs of potatoes, you’ll probably have three baking pans worth. Set them aside to cool.
When ready to cook, bring lightly salted water to a boil and add the gnocchi a few at a time. They’re cooked when they rise to the surface. Remove them with a slotted spoon, drain, and place in a shallow bowl. Spoon Italian meat sauce over the cooked gnocchi, toss with the sauce, and serve with grated Parmesan cheese on the side.