I'm a curious person and have always wanted to push boundaries and experiment. Working with what my mother had in her kitchen at home, I began doctoring up canned food at age 13—from marinara sauce to clam chowder. You can make some really delicious (and unexpected) dishes out of inexpensive, packaged foods. You might think I'm crazy, but you can make pretty great gnocchi from instant potato flakes... don't knock it 'till you try it. —Barbara Lynch
Bring water to a boil. Add potato flakes. Allow the mixture to cool, then fold in egg, 1 cup of the flour, and salt. Using your fingers, combine all the ingredients. Knead the dough by pushing it away from you with the heel of your hand, folding it over, giving it a quarter turn, and pushing it away again. Continue kneading, sprinkling on a little more flour as needed, until the dough just forms a ball and feels a little bit sticky. Set the dough aside and clean the work surface of any hard bits of dough.
Sprinkle the work surface lightly with flour. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin to about 1/2-inch thick. Use a bench scraper or knife to cut the dough into strips about 1/2-inch wide. Roll each strip under your hands to form a log and cut the logs into 1-inch pieces. If you like, you can give your gnocchi grooves. Shape the pieces into balls and roll them down a gnocchi board or fork.
If you are not cooking the gnocchi right away, freeze them on a baking sheet or platter in a single layer until frozen solid. Once frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer bag or airtight container.
Cook the gnocchi in boiling salted water until they float to the top, about 5 minutes. Drain well and serve with your favorite sauce.