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Mario Batali's Gnocchi with Fresh Tomatoes, Green Olives and Smoked Mozzarella

Photograph of gnocchi with fresh tomatoes, green olives and smoked mozzarella.

Serves 4 as a main course, 8 as an appetizer

1 pound plum tomatoes
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup green olives, such as Picholine, pitted
1 basic gnocchi (see recipe below)
4 ounces smoked fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 2 tablespoons salt.

Meanwhile, core the tomatoes and chop them into 1/4-inch cubes, reserving all the juices.

In a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the garlic and cook until light golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and their juices and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the olives and remove from the heat.

Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook until they float to the surface, about 3 minutes. Drain.

Carefully add the gnocchi to the pan with the tomato mixture. Return to the heat and toss gently until bubbling. Add the mozzarella and marjoram and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warmed serving dish. Serve immediately.

Basic Gnocchi
3 pounds russet potatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup canola oil
1 extra-large egg

Put the potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook at a low boil until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes; drain.

While they are still warm, peel the potatoes, then pass them through a vegetable mill onto a clean work surface.

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 1 tablespoon salt. Set up an ice bath nearby. Make a well in the center of the potatoes, and sprinkle them all over with the flour. Break the egg into the center of the well, add the salt, and, using a fork, blend the egg and salt together. Using the fork, begin to incorporate the flour and potatoes as if you were making pasta. Once the dough begins to come together, begin kneading it gently until it forms a ball. Knead gently for another 4 minutes, or until the dough is dry to the touch.

Divide the dough into 6 balls. Roll one ball into a rope 3/4 inch in diameter, and cut it into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece down the back of a fork to create the characteristic ridges. Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook until they float to the surface, about 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the gnocchi to the ice bath. Repeat with the remaining dough, replenishing the ice as necessary.

When all the gnocchi have been cooked and cooled in the ice bath, drain them and transfer to a bowl. Toss with the oil. The gnocchi can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.

From Molto Italiano by Mario Batali (HarperCollins, 2005).