[Don Bernardo, Isla Pedro Gonzales, Islas Las Perlas, Panam;  0823.98'N / 07904.94'W

After once having gnocchi  (with squash blossoms) in Sienna Italy, we'd wanted to try our own.  After finally breaking free of Panama City in the summer of 2008 and escaping to Islas Las Perlas, we had the time to experiment.  Be forewarned this recipe makes a LOT Of pasta. We serve it with a standard tomato sauce and freshly grated Parmesan but it's luscious with gorgonzola sauce. Or just toss gnocchi with olive oil, aged parmesan or romano and maybe a sprinkle of spicy pepper flakes.

Serving Size :4 hungry people

3 large potatoes
3/4 - 1 1/2 cup flour
3 eggs
</= 1/2 teaspoon salt -- or as desired
white or black  pepper -- to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Wash, peel and slice potatoes.  Place them in a pot covered with fresh (or half sea) water and bring to boil.  Turn off heat and let cook until potatoes are soft and break apart when probed with a fork.  Drain boiled potatoes. Puree them through a food mill or potato ricer while still warm. Do not use a blender or food processor for this because it excites the gluten in the potato and makes a sticky mess. (If using leftover mashed potatoes, place in a small pot and heat them until they are warm.)

Transfer potatoes to a mixing bowl, add the eggs and beat them in with a fork. Add salt, pepper and 3/4 cup of flour.  Mix with a fork and add more flour if necessary, bit by bit, kneading until a slightly sticky consistency is attained. Turn onto a floured surface (a pastry cloth works well).  Using the corners of the pastry cloth, roll the dough around a bit to coat with flour but knead no further so that you don't make them rubbery.


Meanwhile, fill a 3-quart pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so that the water is boiling at a gentle roll.


Form the dough into sausage-like rolls about the thickness of your thumb. Cut into pieces about 1-inch in length. (Pieces will puff up during cooking so cut in half if necessary.)  Using a floured fork, flatten the pieces so that the tines leave an imprint in the gnocchi!  Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water as you form them. They will sink to the bottom but will rise to the surface quickly. Continue to cook for another 15 seconds.

Immediately remove with a slotted spoon to a colander. Sprinkle with a little olive oil, mix gently and transfer to a heated platter. Continue until all the gnocchi are cooked.  Serve the gnocchi ungarnished as a side dish or with your favorite sauce.