Many Italian traditions begin in the kitchen. Tonight was the second time I helped my mother make the traditional gnocchi, or tiny potato dumplings, her grandmother used to make. The dough was fairly simple to prepare–just potatoes, flour and if preferred, an egg. They came out softer than the kind of gnocchi you buy in the supermarket but I was told homemade versions are supposed to be mushier.
Lacerate the little pillows with the prongs of a fork so that the sauce soaks into the pasta once it’s cooked.
Drop the gnocchi into a pot of boiling water where they will quickly rise to the top.
You know they’re ready once they float to the top of the water. Taste one to make sure it’s the right firmness. If not firm, drop the morsel back in the pot for another 3-5 seconds.
When out of the pot, mix gnocchi with a generous amount of pesto or tomato sauce.
Grate fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the pasta and serve warm. Mangiamo!