There is an art form to making great fresh pasta. There is also a great art form to making great gnocchi.
The difference lies in that fact that because gnocchi can be mostly potato, which with the advent of microwaves can be cooked in minutes, the path to making gnocchi on a weeknight just, got easier.
First, for those unfamiliar, gnocchi is closely related to the Tuscan word nocco or knuckle. It is a small dumpling made from potatoes, flour, semolina, or a combination of these ingredients. The dumplings do sort of look like a person's knuckle.
Now here is the recipe (from Epicurious).
Like I said above, use the microwave for your potatoes. Then if you don't have a ricer or food mill, go ahead and use a potato masher. It will take you working the dough to the proper consistency and then making it into the right shapes.
After you drop into the boiling salted water, your options from there are endless. Sauce, pesto, olive oil and good Italian cheese, anything can be had with these little pillows of flavor.
It'll enhance your repertoire in the kitchen, while impressing your friends and family thinking you slaved all day or went to a school to learn this.
(Photo by: cyclonebill via Creative Commons).