According to the records of cookbooks, gnocchi (or at least something resembling gnocchi) is up there with the some of the oldest food recipes in history, dating back to the early 13th century. Back then, and even more so today, gnocchi was prepared in a variety of methods. Some used breadcrumbs, squash, and other like-textured ingredients in place of potatoes and flour.
In Tuscan, a popular variety was called strozzapreti, which incorporated spinach to its dough. The dumplings, however, are nicknamed "priest-stranglers," as apparently a priest once choked on the dish from eating it too fast.
Prep: 20 min | Cooking: 30 min | Total: 50 min
Russet potatoes, peeled (3 medium potatoes)
Salt (1 tsp)
Parsley, minced (2 tbsp)
Spinach, minced (4 tbsp)
Ricotta cheese (1/3 cup)
All-purpose flour (1 1/2 cups)
Fill a pot 1/3 full with water and bring to boil. Add potatoes and boil until tender (about 25 minutes). Transfer potatoes to large bowl. Add salt, parsley, spinach, ricotta, and egg and mash until smooth.
Sprinkle a bit of flour over a smooth, clean surface. Plop the mashed potato mixture on the center of that surface and cover with the rest of the flour. Knead and roll until doughy.
Cut dough into quarters. Roll each quarter (using more flour if necessary) to resemble a snake about an inch in diameter. Cut each snake into little toe-sized pieces, softly pinching each piece at the center.
Bring another pot 1/3 full with water to a boil. Add gnocchi and cook until they float (about 5 minutes). Serve with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese.