Preparing potato gnocchi is a labor-intensive operation. For this reason, several years ago, we trained my grandchildren on the technique to do it. As a result, they are now very proficient and can prepare the gnocchi without any help or supervision.
Unfortunately, they were on the road to celebrate Christmas with German bratwurst at my co-grandparent’s house this year and were unavailable to help us in this annual ritual feast.
We enlisted the help of a friend to replace their slave labor: he was up to the task!
We started with the potatoes. According to my chef, Yukon Gold potatoes are the best kind to use.
One kilo for three people gnocchi is the quantity needed.
We peeled the potatoes and then passed them with the potato masher. We found that the rotary one is the best for this use; plastic is acceptable and low-cost. If you are seriously involved in cooking Italian recipes, you should have one in your house.
The mashed potatoes are ready for further processing.
We (my Master Chef) put the mashed potatoes on a marble surface, adding All-Purpose flour and amalgamating until the potatoes incorporate the flour.
How long? QB Quanto Basta = As Long As Needed – a typical indication by traditional Italian cooks.
In other words: if you put too little flour remains watery. On the other hand, it becomes problematic if you put too much, and the gnocchi will be like a brick, and you don’t want that to happen!
Our Master Chef tasted the consistency by patting the ball of gnocchi pasta until she was satisfied with the feeling.
For the following step, the Master Chef cut strips of gnocchi pasta, rolling them and cutting them into small pieces.
The intervention of the sou-chef was of fundamental importance at this point: he rolled each gnocco with the unique dedicated tool – you can use a fork if you don’t have the device.
He then put the gnocchi on a pan covered with linen sprinkled with flour.
It’s time to cook the gnocchi in a pot of boiling water, a bit at a time, not altogether at the same time!
When they are ready, the gnocchi will surface, one at a time, and you will take them and place them in a suitable container, like a pot.
During all the gnocchi preparation, the tomato sauce was being cooked.
You can have gnocchi with many other different sauces. Basic tomato sauce is the one we used this year.
It starts with sliced onions and strained tomatoes.
The gnocchi is in a bowl with tomato sauce. Adding grated Parmigiano Reggiano is the final touch before serving at the table.
Where was Ben during all this time?
He was sitting near the coffee table – HIS REIGN that we usurped to put the Christmas presents.
HE DOES NOT LIKE the arrangement and makes it known by playing with the Christmas tree ornaments, trying to destroy them.
OK BEN, Christmas is here now, and you will have the coffee table back for your exclusive use, for your naps at all times, day and night.
GIVE YOURSELVES A GIFT:
A trip to visit Italy, or, at least, a book to prepare, or dream to do so.