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Potato gnocchi with fava beans and Pecorino Toscano

  • 1 hour and 35 minutes
  • Difficult
  • First Courses
In this recipe, the gnocchi are paired with fresh, typically Italian flavors of fava beans and pecorino cheese. It is a perfect summertime dish.

Ingredients: Per 4 servings

  • 1 lb potatoes
  • 5 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 7 oz broad beans, fresh, shelled
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 ½ oz Toscano Extra Virgin Olive Oil IGP
  • 1 ¾ oz plum tomatoes
  • 1 ½ oz black olives
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 2 oz Pecorino Toscano Cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


Cover potatoes by 1 inch with cold salted water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender (when a knife goes in with no resistance), about 50 minutes.

Let cool just enough so they can be handled. Peel and put them through a ricer or food mill.
Combine hot peeled potatoes with flour, egg and salt. Turn dough out onto a floured cutting board and cut into 3 portions.

Gently roll each portion into a long log about 3/4 inch thick. Cut each log into 3/4-inch pieces with a floured knife.

Press a piece of dough against tines of a floured fork, and push with a floured thumb in a forward motion toward end of tines, letting gnocchi fall from fork onto a floured kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.

Cook fava beans in boiling salted water for 1 minute; immediately transfer with slotted spoon to ice water to stop cooking. Gently peel skins from beans.

In a small skillet, cook garlic in 1 tablespoon of oil over moderately low heat for 2 minutes add the chopped tomato, fava beans, olives, and salt and pepper to taste, and cook over moderate heat for 4 minutes.

Chef's tips

Hand-made potato gnocchi cook very quickly: they should be boiled in salted water and removed just as soon as they rise to the top of the pot.

Food History

Gnocchi are probably the first shape of pasta created by man. They are small and cylindrical in shape, rolled and pressed by hand – the most natural form of pasta around. There are different types of gnocchi, although those made with potatoes, the most popular nowadays, could not be found before the end of the 19th century. Other preparations, usually based on bread or semolina flour, can be traced back to the end of the Middle Ages.
Since the beginning of the Modern Age, the “baccanal del gnocco,” a festival celebrating the dish, has taken place every year during Carnival celebrations in Verona. This festival stems from a historical event on 1531, when Verona was invaded by the Lanzichenecchi and damaged by a flood creating a terrible famine. An exhausted and hungry group of people gathered in the main piazza to take over the communal ovens. The attack was stopped by Tommaso Da Vico, who on the last day of Carnival, paid for bread, wine, flour and cheese to be distributed to the townspeople. Da Vico ordered that this tradition be kept year after year and he was subsequently names “The Pope of Gnocchi.” Over the centuries, the “bacanal del gnoco” has continued: each year an old man with a long white beard and a red trumpet sticks a golden fork into a gnocco and rides around on a mule, together with other helpers, giving out candies and packages of gnocchi.

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