By far one of the best dinners I have had in Rome was gnocchi night on Wednesday. If you are unfamiliar with gnocchi, it basically is a type of pasta that consists mainly of flour, egg, potato, and several other ingredients. It is a pretty soft pasta, and it can certainly be very filling. All of us in the Cornell in Rome program who attended gnocchi night last Wednesday certainly had that feeling. Anna Rita Flati was absolutely the star chef of the night and deserves so much of the credit. We helped prepare the gnocchi, but we had no idea how many different varieties of gnocchi Anna Rita had in store for us that night. In total there were about 40 students and we all left completely satiated and extremely full. Many of us helped with the preparation by creating the dough and then creating the gnocchi pieces to be cooked. At the end of the preparation time we filled about four tables with huge amounts of gnocchi ready to be cooked.
To start off the dinner we had an appetizer of egg omelettes and a bowl of salad. Afterwards it was time for gnocchi, and I do not think any of us expected the full variety of gnocchi that was to be served. It is hard for me to even remember all the different varieties. They all went out one at a time, and of course we all felt the need to try all of them. Well, it turned out even that was an impossible task. Between the salmon and cream sauce gnocchi, the pumpkin gnocchi, the artichoke gnocchi, the beef brisket gnocchi, the gnocchi made with peppers, traditional gnocchi served over tomato sauce, a pesto gnocchi, and I am still forgetting some, we were close to being in the happiest food comas of our life. I wish I had photographed all the varieties, but unfortunately I, like the others, was too busy filling myself up. However, I did have time to capture a picture of dessert.
By the end of the night we all discovered our new-found talents: the ability to make gnocchi, the ability to identify and know the taste of at least five gnocchi dishes, and the ability to make it through a huge Italian dinner while still eating dessert. We also learned that Anna Rita might be the best gnocchi chef in town and that if we ever need a cook for a party of forty or more in Rome we know who to contact.