Gnocchi is one of the most identifiable Italian dishes. Gnocchi are thick, soft dumplings made from eggs, flour, and potatoes that can be served with a variety of sauces such as a tomato sauce or a pesto sauce. This past Friday, we had gnocchi night at Palazzo Lazzaroni to learn how to make homemade gnocchi and then to eat them.
First, we started with the base ingredients- cooked potatoes that are grated and two eggs. Next, we slowly incorporated the two eggs into the grated potatoes, gradually adding a little bit of flour into the mixture just until the dough no longer stuck on our hands. After the dough was ready, it needed to be kneaded for about five minutes and formed into a ball. Afterwards, the big ball of dough was subdivided into about 6 smaller balls and each small ball of dough into ropes about ¾ inch thick. Next, the rope of gnocchi was cut into pieces 1 inch thick. All of us crowded around a large table in the main Palazzo room and took turns kneading the dough out into rolls and cutting them into little pieces of gnocchi.
Each piece was then pressed with a finger to create an indent in the center so that sauce can get fully mixed into the pasta.
The final step before eating the gnocchi was… finally cooking it! The gnocchi was thrown into a pot of hot water until they floated to the top of the water. The last step was the most delicious! We set up a long table about 30 feet long in the palazzo to sit down together and enjoy the fresh gnocchi. We ate the gnocchi with three different kinds of sauces- butter with sage, tomato sauce with meat, and a red pepper sauce with pine nuts. My favorite was the red pepper sauce. The color was really vibrant, and it was so delicious! Red peppers are still in season and can be readily found in the local outdoor markets, as well as, the neighborhood grocery stores.
Gnocchi night was a very relaxing end to a very hectic week- one that included the deadline of our first project. It was also nice to cook all together- like one big, architecture family. Although gnocchi can be seen as a challenging meal to make, now it is more approachable and one that we will hopefully make together again.
Ciao a tutti,