Che cosa ho fatto: Gnocchi (What I made)
Okay, so I’ve already discussed homemade pansotti (here)…but I figured that since food (il mangiare) is such a large part of the Italian culture, this will need its own section on the site. I’ve decided to call this, “Che cosa ho fatto” (What I made).
I’ve been cooking a lot since moving to NYC with Roberto. We cook something pretty much everyday and I will say that it saves the bank account and it increasingly helps my “linea”(figure as they say in Italia). No really, I think I need to do a separate post on how I lost the 30 pounds I gained after Miss USA without stepping foot in a gym and eating pasta roughly 5-6 days a week. (I will never hardcore diet…again).
There was a period, in our beginning city life, where we were subletting a small apartment in Brooklyn while navigating our way through the chaotic real estate world of New York City (today actually marks one year in our new Manhattan apartment – woohoo!). The corner “grocery” bodega sold the most expensive groceries in the world, and due to the heat and humidity of the estate (summer) of 2016, we opted to be lazy and grab last minute ingredients there. One night when shopping there, we discovered that a small package of gnocchi was over $8. To me, that always seemed normal, pasta in those packages always seemed expensive. However, Roberto told me that it is unbelievably easy to make gnocchi and he was absolutely right (thank you for starting my new obsession).
I set out to create my first tipo di pasta ever, homemade gnocchi. The ingredients: potatoes, flour, an egg, and salt. Please DO NOT forget the salt. I did on my first try and I’ve never missed it since. It is key. Sale is life. Sale is good. Okay, okay – I won’t bore you, but it completes this dish, and well, most Italian dishes.
I choose to make my gnocchi dough by hand because, well, it’s more rewarding to me. Now if we have friends coming over for dinner, I will crack out my beloved Kitchenaid to get the job done, but it’s only saving about 10 min.
First you must boil down your potatoes. After they are drained, mash them with a potato masher (thanks Guppy for this one) and incorporate the mush into the flour, salt and one egg. I take the volcano approach (like most Italians I’ve seen do) and create a small bowl out of the flour in which the egg resides. I then whisk it up and start to knead everything by hand.
Once your dough is kneaded and soft, it’s time to section it off. Create a long roll of dough and start to cut it apart into tiny pieces.
Gnocchi in the packages and in most photos, can be shaped on a wooden board that gives it many little notches, however I adopted the family way, and use my thumb to make an imprint and it tastes just the same. There isn’t a right or wrong way, so experiment and make it your own! That’s what cooking is all about (unless you ruin brownies, like me – just once I swear).
One batch of gnocchi for me will last us many meals, and we just store everything in freezer bags until we’re ready to use.
Gnocchi is cooked in hot boiling water and when it’s ready it will rise to the top (usually after a few minutes). Take it out with a slotted spoon and add it to a bowl to incorporate it into any sauce you are desiring.
For me, I love me some homemade pesto. I can’t battle Roberto on this, Genoa is famous for the pesto and we do the best that we can in NYC to recreate this delectable “sauce” (note: Pine Nuts, Grana -tipo di formaggio- and basil – you’re more expensive than you think). I tried to bring back actual basil seeds from Genoa on the plane, but that didn’t go over so well at customs, so don’t even think about it.
There you have it, folks – gnocchi for days. I look forward to sharing more of my Italian cooking discoveries with you all and I also encourage you to EAT PASTA. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the real chefs preparing gnocchi for the entire famiglia in Italia (pictured Albertina e Eralda – CIAO e un abbraccio forte). I surely hope that I can one day make the BEST gnocchi ever (because yours is THAT good).
Con un special appetito per la pasta ogni giorno della settimana (with a special appetite for pasta every day of the week),