By: Carlo Mignacca
Gnocchi, an Italian specialty, is a very simple dish to make, although it takes a lot of time and patience to do so. The word “Gnocchi” is the Italian name for a variety of soft, thick noodles. It has been a traditional Italian pasta type of Middle Eastern origin since Roman times. It was introduced by the Roman Legions during the expansion of the empire into the countries of the European continent.
Gnocchi can be made from different ingredients such as semolina, ordinary wheat flour, potato, bread crumbs and my family’s favorite, ricotta cheese. The ingredients vary from different regions in Italy. There are different sauces to add flavor to the gnocchi as well. These include pesto, melted butter with cheese and also tomato sauce. My family prefers this dish topped with homemade tomato sauce. Gnocchi recipes have been documented since the 1300’s. It is a dish that is more common in the Northern regions of Italy, although the recipe was passed on to the rest of Italy as well.
This recipe has become part of our family tradition. My mother and I often spend Sunday mornings preparing gnocchi for our weekly family “Sunday Lunch”. I hope that this recipe is enjoyed by all who attempt it, just as much as we do!
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 egg
- pinch of salt
- 1 container of ricotta cheese (475 g.)
1. Beat egg
2. Add ricotta + pinch of salt
3. Using a wooden spatula, add flour
4. Mix all the ingredients together
5. Knead for 10 -15 minutes or until the dough has a smooth texture
6. After the dough has been kneaded, separate small amounts at a time and roll them out into long strands, half inch in diameter. Once you have these long strands of dough that are half inch in diameter, you want to cut these up into half inch squares.
7. After you have cut them into half inch squares, you have to individually take the small squares and use a fork to engrave little lines in each Gnocchi. These lines will make the cooking process much better and this will give the sauce a surface to cling to when being eaten. Once you have done this to all the gnocchi, spread them out evenly on a floured cooking tray.
8. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt to the water. Once the water is boiling, gently place the gnocchi’s into the pot. You know they are cooked when they float on the surface of the water.