This dish is simple, the sauce could be considered plain but don’t be tempted to throw in other ingredients because the whole of idea of Italian classics is that the star ingredients like cheese or basil or tomato be properly savoured. I am always surprised by how quick this is to make so don’t buy your gnocchi ready made when this process can actually be quite social if you sit around making them with whoever’s going to be doing the eating with you. Plus it’s totally fail-proof if you’re someone who’s had a bad experience trying to make egg pasta by hand.
Boil 1kg of peeled potatoes in salted water until soft. Mash in a bowl and add sea salt, 2 egg yolks and 100g flour. Mix until it forms a dough and then knead on a floured surface. Roll into long thin logs and then cut evenly so each piece is the same size. Flour a fork and roll each of the gnocchi gently across it leave ridges that will grab the sauce. Cook gnocchi in a pot of salted boiling water for about 10 minutes or until they taste cooked. Heat 1 litre of tomato passata with a little olive oil and a clove of finely chopped garlic. Add a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes are bitter. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the gnocchi in the sauce and top with grated Parmesan cheese. In many Italian trattorias they will throw in a little mozzarella at the last moment when the pan is off the heat and this gives the tomato sauce a glorious creaminess. But you may not have mozzarella on hand and what I love about this dish is that you’re likely to have potatoes, passata and some Parmesan in the fridge, making it a nice spontaneous dish to whip up when your cupboard is almost bare.