Italians have been eating these floury dumplings for centuries.

1 pound potatoes (6 small or -3 large)

2 cups flour, plus additional flour for rolling

Place the potatoes in a pot, cover them with water, and bring the water to a boil. Boil until potatoes are thoroughly cooked. Remove the potatoes from the water. Peel them when they are still slightly warm. When the potatoes are cool, puree them in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

Add two cups of flour to the pureed potatoes. Process for about 15 seconds or until the flour and potatoes form a soft ball of dough.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Coat the dough with the flour so that the outside of the ball is no longer sticky. Pat the dough into an oval shape. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough like a loaf of bread. Each slice should be about 1 1/2 inches wide.

Coat the sticky sides of each slice of dough with more flour. Then, with your hands, roll out each slice to form ropes of dough the thickness of your index finger (or thinner, if you prefer). Slice the ropes into 1/2-inch chunks.

Immediately coat each chunk with flour, to prevent them from sticking. Freeze or cook the gnocchi right away. (To freeze, place gnocchi on a cookie sheet, so that they barely touch one another. Frozen gnocchi may be packed in plastic bags.)

To cook, bring six quarts of cold water to a rolling boil. Shake the excess flour off the gnocchi and drop them (unthawed) into the boiling water. Stir the water vigorously for the first minute. When the water returns to a boil, cook the gnocchi 6-7 minutes or until they float to the surface.

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