Confessions of a Gnocchi Newbie

27 Apr
by Deanne

Growing up in a family with Norwegian and Irish heritage, I didn’t encounter any Italian home cooking. When I moved to the Philadelphia area in my thirties, I had a lot to learn about new flavors and dishes.

One day, I wandered into a lovely little ItaA photo of Ristorante Panoramalian restaurant in the quaint and historic Penn’s View Hotel on Front Street in Center City (that’s what the locals call downtown Philly) called Ristorante Panorama. My dining partner seemed to know all about the menu that looked foreign to me. Finally, I randomly pointed to a dish that I now know as gnocchi. My thinking was—it must be safe because it has potatoes in it (my Norwegian and Irish ancestors would be proud).

A few weeks ago, I decided to try making gnocchi with riced potatoes. I followed this recipe by Michael Chiarello. A photo of my homemade gnocchiThe recipe worked very well and I didn’t need to use as much flour to hold the dough together. I attempted to use the fork to make the gnocchi curl, but as you can see by the picture, this is a skill that will take a bit more practice.

When I think about it, gnocchi is similar to Norwegian potato dumplings.  The differences are that they are are bigger and served with different seasonings. The concept of making something special from boring ol’ potatoes which most people had plenty of (especially my Irish and Scandinavian ancestors) is similar across cuisines.

Have you ever made gnocchi from scratch?  Is there something you enjoy making that is connected to your family heritage?

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