Gnocchi can serve as a main dish or side dish, you can even sneak in a little Italian sausage or ground beef if you like. Heat the protein in the skillet with the sauce for the gnocchi.
2 ½ lbs russet potatoes
2 extra large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp salt
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese, room temperature
1 Tbsp self-rising flour
5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
6 cups homemade marinara sauce
1. Scrub the potatoes and place in a 6-quart pot of cold water. Bring to a boil and add a generous amount of salt. Boil until tender, about 30 minutes.
2. Drain the water from potatoes, and then cool in the pot until safe to handle. Peel and rice potatoes into a large bowl using a ricer. Cool at least 30 minutes. (Do not use a food processor. If necessary, break the potatoes into very fine pieces using two forks.)
3. In a bowl, combine the eggs, salt, ricotta, and self rising flour. Mix well, then add half of the all purpose flour.
4. On a lightly floured surface, make a mound with the riced potatoes, then make a well in the center of the mound.. Add the eggs mixture to the middle of the well. Slowly combine with the potatoes, to make a dough. Knead the dough with the palms of your hands. Add the remaining flour a little at a time, only as needed. The dough should be smooth but not sticky.
5. Cut the dough into six equal pieces. On a floured surface, use your palms to roll each piece into a long tube. You may need to cut each of those pieces in half as you roll it. Use a bench scraper to cut each roll into 1-inch-long pieces. Roll each piece down the tines of a fork to give it the classic gnocchi shape.
6. Meanwhile, In a large wide skillet, warm the marinara sauce. Cover to keep the sauce hot, but not boiling.
7. Bring a 6-quart pot of salted water to a gentle boil. Cook the gnocchi a few at a time for 4 to 5 minutes. Once the gnocchi come to the surface of the water, let them cook 1 more minute and then remove with a slotted spoon to the waiting marinara.
8. If desired, dust with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese and fresh basil before serving.