Alberto Guadagnini, owner of guest villa Casali di Bibbiano, and Chef Italo Marone prepared this dish at a cooking class during the Taste Tours Tuscany trip this past spring. The easy sauce is great to make with wonderful in-season tomatoes.
Adapted from Casali di Bibbiano.
½ pound potatoes
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling
Fresh Tomato Sauce
6 medium plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 fresh basil leaves, or to taste
1. Prepare the gnocchi. Boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain and run under cold water to cool slightly, then peel. Use a ricer or coarsely grate the potatoes into a large bowl. When cool enough to touch, stir in egg, then flour and salt. Mix to form a stiff dough, adding additional flour if needed. Knead in the bowl until dough is smooth.
2. Shape dough into an oval and let rest for a few minutes on a floured surface. Cut dough into 2-inch segments. Roll each segment into a long snake, about ¾ inch wide. Cut each snake into 1/2 inch pieces. If you have a gnocchi board, roll the pieces on the board to form indentations. Otherwise, roll each piece along the back of a fork. Transfer formed gnocchi to a floured baking sheet. Set aside.
3. Prepare the tomato sauce. Peel the tomatoes: Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Have ready a bowl of ice water. Cut a very shallow X in the base of each tomato, just nicking the skin. Add the tomatoes to the boiling water and boil very briefly, 30 to 60 seconds maximum. Use a spoon to remove them and immediately add to the bowl of ice water. The skin will start to peel away at the X; peel off the skin and discard. Finely chop the tomatoes and set aside.
4. Heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and brown slowly, then add the reserved tomatoes, salt, and basil. Cook over low heat until thickened slightly and fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes.
5. While the sauce cooks, cook the gnocchi. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. When water boils, add a spoonful of salt. Cook the gnocchi in 2 batches. Add half the gnocchi to the pot, stirring a few times. They’ll sink when you first add them. When they rise to the surface, cook for 1 minute, then remove with a sieve or slotted spoon. Divded among 2 shallow bowls. Cook the remaining gnocchi and divide among 2 more bowls.
Makes 4 servings
Wine: Casali di Bibbiano, Argante Rosso Toscana IGT (Tuscany, Italy)
Photography by Lisë Stern