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The Italian potato dumplings, gnocchi, are tremendously comforting and soul-satisfying. They are also very versatile and can be served with tomato sauce, beef stew, or simply napped with butter and cheese. A bowl of gnocchi chases the winter chill away.

Really delicious gnocchi are light and ethereal; really bad gnocchi sink to the bottom of your stomach and make you feel bloated. Gnocchi are easy to make out of three ingredients: potatoes, flour, and salt. The secret is a light hand; the more flour that is added to the dough, the heavier the gnocchi will taste. Add just enough flour to hold the dough together. Making gnocchi out of warm baked potatoes produces a lighter, fluffier dough than using boiled potatoes (which soak up extra water).

Once the dumplings are formed, they are traditional rolled across a ridged edge. The ridges catch the sauce, so that every bite has the fullest flavor. Yes, you can use the tines of a fork, but that’s a slow-poke method. Gnocchi boards, which are a ridged wooden paddle, are the essential Italian implement for making gnocchi. When our supplier discontinued gnocchi boards, we turned to a local woodworker to make beautiful, handcrafted gnocchi boards out of local wood. These thick boards have a firm handle that will last through years of use — plus, they have deeper grooves which made better ridges on the dumplings.

Feeling insecure about your gnocchi-making skills? Join chef Bradley Burns of Lorenzo’s for a gnocchi workshop on Monday, May 12.