1 ½ hours
1 pound parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Butter for reheating (optional)
1. Roast, steam, or boil the parsnips until very tender. (If boiling or steaming, be sure to drain well before proceeding.) Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.
2. Purée the parsnips in a food processor until smooth; sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add about 1 cup of the flour, the Parmesan, and the nutmeg, if you’re using it, and stir. Add more flour until the mixture forms a dough you can handle. Knead for a minute or so on a lightly floured work surface. Pinch off a piece of the dough and boil it to make sure it will hold its shape; if it does not, knead in a bit more flour. The idea is to make a dough with as little flour and kneading as possible.
3. Roll a piece of the dough into a rope about 1/2 inch thick, then cut the rope into 1-inch lengths; spin each piece off the tines of a fork to score it lightly. As each gnocchi is ready, put it on a sheet of wax paper; do not allow them to touch.
4. A few at a time, add the gnocchi to the boiling water and stir. A minute after they rise to the surface, the gnocchi are done; remove with a slotted spoon. Put in a bowl and sauce, or reheat in butter within a few minutes; these do not keep well.
Sage, Brown Butter and Parmesan
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 20 fresh sage leaves and cook until the butter browns and the sage sizzles, swirling the butter a few times. Remove from the heat. Add the cooked gnocchi to the skillet, toss with a handful of freshly grated Parmesan, and serve.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Substitute sweet potatoes for the parsnips. You might need to add up to 1/2 cup more flour, depending on your sweet potatoes.