Gnocchi are not difficult to make, but it's important to use floury, not waxy, potatoes and to cook them whole and unpeeled so they don't absorb any water. Gnocchi should be cooked as soon as possible after making, as they don't keep well; or freeze them, then simply cook them from frozen.
750 g (1 lb 10 oz) medium desirée potatoes, unpeeled
150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour, approximately, plus extra, for rolling
1½ teaspoons salt
green salad, to serve
Blue cheese, sage and walnut sauce
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) pouring (whipping) cream
125 g (4½ oz) firm blue cheese, crumbled
2½ teaspoons finely chopped sage, plus extra leaves, to garnish
40 g (1½ oz/⅓ cup) walnut halves, toasted and chopped
1. Cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water for 20–25 minutes or until tender when tested with a skewer; avoid testing too much as this will cause the potatoes to absorb water. Drain well, then set aside until just cool enough to handle. While the potatoes are still hot, use your fingertips to peel them. Using a potato ricer, purée the potatoes into a large bowl. Allow to cool slightly.
2. Add the flour and salt to the potatoes, then use your hands to knead the mixture until a soft dough forms. If the mixture is still sticky, add a little more flour, but be careful not to add too much or the gnocchi will be heavy and tough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
3. Cut the dough into six even-sized pieces. Using your hands, gently roll each piece out to form a log about 1 cm (½ inch) wide. Using a lightly floured knife, cut each log into pieces 1.5 cm (⅝ inch) long. Working with one piece at a time, sit it, cut side down, on your index finger then roll the tines of a fork (facing upwards) over the other end and the sides of the gnocchi (wrapping it around your finger) to form a neat, rounded dumpling shape. The indentations from the fork and your finger create a textured surface, which will help sauces to cling to the cooked gnocchi.
4. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add half the gnocchi and cook over high heat until they rise to the surface. Continue cooking for another 10 seconds, then remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon, draining well, and transfer to a large plate or tray. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.
5. Meanwhile, bring the cream to the boil in a large frying pan then add the cheese and sage. Cook, tossing the pan occasionally, for 2–3 minutes, or until the cheese has partially melted and the sauce has thickened to a coating consistency. Add the gnocchi and briefly toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Divide among warmed bowls, scatter with the walnuts and a few extra sage leaves, and serve immediately with a green salad.