Given that my heritage is primarily English, Irish, and Welsh yet I take a strictly Italian perspective on life!
La dolce vita! (The sweet life) has been my adopted way of life since my first forays to Italy.
How is this possible you ask?
Great question! As a boy I dreamed of travelling the world, but in many of my dreams and imaginations found me in Italy…
Exploring all of the ancient sites searching for antiquities and adventures seemed to be the popular daydream in those days.
Yes, a bit of an Indiana Jones type adventurer, but well before the iconic character became legendary in pop culture.
Since those bygone days of only dreaming about Italy I’ve made it a priority to visit and explore Italy as often as I can.
Now looking back, I’ve visited more than 30 times over the last few decades. Yep, often more than once per year.
It was much easier when I lived in Toronto as I could slip over to Milan or Rome on the Air Canada flight on Thursday night and return on Monday at lunchtime.
Got to love airline points!
In fact, Italy was the perfect locale for my famous “four-day” flips!
Of course, I’m speaking strictly Italian trips, and that doesn’t include the many other trips that I’ve taken to various countries all over Europe during this same time period.
Basically, I had dedicated my personal life to traveling and exploring.
Now that I’m firmly ensconced in back in Australia, I must admit it’s far more expensive, both in terms of time and money to visit my beloved Italy.
For the moment I have to enjoy all things strictly Italian in terms of food and wine, particularly true given that I’ve embraced the culture so fully over the years.
So that leaves me in the kitchen with some recipe books and a great glass of Italian red to tide me over…
I will definitely take this approach for the time being.
What to make? As you can imagine I have a raft of recipe books to choose from.
Judy is a pescatarian (seafood / vegetarian) so when I choose to create a dish it’s important to keep this in mind.
Today I decided on a strictly Italian homemade Gnocchi.
I used to make this quite often in Toronto for Sam as she loved it!
Making Gnocchi from scratch is a bit of a labour of love, but I enjoy experimenting with new Italian dishes and an afternoon in the kitchen…
Surprisingly, Gnocchi isn’t that difficult to make, just a little time consuming.
Firstly, you’ll need about 1 kg (2 lbs) of unpeeled potatoes, 1 & 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 large egg, and 3/4 tablespoon of sea salt.
See what I mean – simple ingredients that you already have in your kitchen. Which, by the way is typical of many Italian dishes.
I usually peel and cut my potatoes into quarters, before placing them in a pot of cold water (about 2.5 cm (1 in) covered by water), then slowly bring them to the boil (around 30 min).
I then drain them and let them cool to the touch in a bowl.
Next, I dust the counter top with a light coating of flour.
Once the potatoes are cool put them through a potato ricer, making a circle on the flour, leaving a hole in the middle for my egg.
When all of the potatoes are in a mound, I beat the egg and pour it in the middle of the potato. Around the circle I now sprinkle my flour. I then begin folding the potato into the egg and flour mixing it by hand until it becomes a pliable ball of dough about the size of a grapefruit.
One thing I’ve learned about making Gnocchi is that the less you need it the fluffier it is.
I then re-dust the counter with flour, and slice of about a 2.5 cm (1 in) of the dough and roll it in my hands until it’s the around the size of a mandarin.
Using this I begin rolling it by hand on the benchtop to make a long rope, again minimizing the rolling other than making it a consistent size until the rope is about 1 – 2 cm around.
Next, with a clean, sharp knife I cut them into 1 cm (1/2 in) lengths. Then with a fork slide each gnocchi square from the base of the fork prongs in a rolling motion to the top.
I generally place the gnocchi on a plate then in the freezer for about 30 min. Meanwhile, I bring a large pot of water to the boil with a good pinch of sea salt.
Drop your gnocchi into the boiling water, when they float to the surface, they are cooked so use a strainer to take them from the boiling water.
Drain thoroughly for a minute, then place in a bowl with your desired source. Add shave parmesan or pecorino to the top and you’re ready to eat.
A delicious, simple, and easy to make recipe…
Until next week
Tino RiccioMarch 25, 2023
TerencewallisMarch 25, 2023