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Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Peel the potatoes and chop into equal-sized chunks. Lay a large sheet of kitchen foil on your work surface, pile the potatoes into the middle and arrange the bay leaves on top, if using. Fold the foil over the potatoes, then fold the edges in to seal and create a parcel. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 1 hr-1 hr 15 mins until the potatoes are tender. Or, tip into a heatproof bowl, cover (do not use foil) and cook in the microwave for 10 mins on high. If still firm, microwave in 5-min bursts until tender. While the potatoes are still hot, pass them through a ricer or push through a sieve onto a tray and cool completely. Will keep chilled for up to two days before using.
Scatter the flour, 10g of cheese, ½ tsp salt and a grating of nutmeg over the potatoes on the tray, then gently tip the egg yolks on top. Gently bring everything together with your hands until you have a uniform dough that resembles crumbly pastry. Knead for about a minute until it just comes together, but don’t overwork it. Divide the dough into four pieces and roll each one out into a long, finger-thick sausage on a lightly floured surface. Cut each sausage into 1.5-2cm nuggets. The gnocchi can now be cooked, or you can create ridges on them by rolling them over the back of a fork, grater or sushi mat. Arrange the gnocchi in a single layer on the tray. Will keep frozen for up to three months. First, freeze on the tray until solid, then portion into food bags.
Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil. If cooking all the gnocchi at once, you’ll need to do this in three batches, cooking each batch for 2 mins, or until they rise to the surface. (You can also cook them for 3-5 mins from frozen.) Remove to a colander using a slotted spoon. Reserve 150ml of the cooking water, discarding the rest. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat with about ½ tsp cracked black pepper and sizzle until the butter turns a nutty brown. Toss through the gnocchi, remaining cheese and about half of the reserved cooking water, then turn up the heat slightly and toss until the gnocchi is well-coated in a thick, cheesy sauce. You may need to add a little more of the cooking water to loosen. Serve the gnocchi straightaway in warm bowls.