1 Place the potatoes in a large pot with cold water to cover. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Dust two large baking sheets with flour.
2 While the potatoes are still warm, peel them and cut them into chunks. Mash the potatoes, using the smallest holes of a ricer or food mill, or by hand with a potato masher. Add the egg yolk and 2 teaspoons of salt. Stir in one cup of the flour just until blended. The dough will be stiff.
3 Scrape the potatoes onto a floured surface. Knead briefly, adding only enough flour so that the gnocchi will hold their shape when cooked but not so much that they become heavy. The dough should be slightly sticky.
4 Set the dough aside. Scrape the board to remove any dough scraps. Wash and dry your hands, then dust them with flour. Set out one or two large baking pans and dust them with flour.
5 Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Keeping the remaining dough covered, roll one piece into a long rope about 3/4 inch thick. Cut the rope into 1/2 inch-long nuggets.
6 To shape the dough, hold a fork in one hand with the tines pointed down. With the thumb of the other hand, roll each piece of dough over the back of the tines, pressing lightly to make ridges on one side and an indentation from your finger on the other. Let the gnocchi drop onto the prepared pans. The pieces should not touch. Repeat with the remaining dough.
7 Refrigerate the gnocchi until ready to cook. (Gnocchi can also be frozen. Place the baking sheets in the freezer for one hour or until firm. Put the gnocchi in a large heavy-duty plastic bag. Freeze up to one month. Do not thaw before cooking.)
From "1,000 Italian Recipes." Copyright 2004 by Michele Scicolone. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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