Gnocchi remind me of only one person: my caring and loving grandma. When I was a child we always prepared gnocchi together, she was so quick and they were sooooo delicious.
In Italy Thursday is gnocchi day: this comes from the catholic tradition to eat something very filling on Thursday to be able to go through the fasting day of Friday.
In Verona, my hometown, there is one day which is exceptionally special for gnocchi and it is the Friday preceding the beginning of lent. On this day, Verona celebrates the traditional Carnival and literally everywhere you can eat gnocchi. An allegoric mask, called Papa’ del Gnocco (a sort of Lord of the gnocchi) is the real symbol of this event. The tradition started in the XVI century, while during a strong famine a few rich lords were elected to provide the population with food. One of them, a rich doctor, requested in his will that each year on this day free food should be given to the poor. Carnival became then a sort of reconciliation between the richest and the poorest, a day where the rich give to the poor, and gnocchi is the symbol of this.
To me gnocchi means simplicity, love, caring for the others, generosity: my grandma.
Although they seem a bit complicated to be done, gnocchi are very easy and quick to do, and they are naturally dairy free.
Ingredients (for 4 people):
1 kg potatoes
250 gr flour (300 gr maximum if the dough is too soft)
pinch of salt
1. Boil the potatoes in their skin
2. Once cooked, peel the potatoes and mash them
3. If you have a kitchen machine, you can use the kneading function and it will do the hard job for you: add the mashed potatoes, flour on top, egg and pinch of salt and start kneading (medium speed, everything needs to be done quickly) until dough forms a ball
4. Shape small portions of the dough into long snakes on floured surface and cut into 2 cm pieces
5. To give the shape as in the picture you can use a fork (video on my instagram account here)
6. Leave gnocchi to sit for at least 1/2 hour: if you skip this step they will remain too soft and will not maintain their shape while cooking (meantime prepare you favourite sauce, it can be anything from tomato sauce, to pesto, anything you like!)
7. Bring to boil a large pot of water, add salt, drop in gnocchi and drain with a deep-fry skimmer (so you won’t break the gnocchi) and add your favourite sauce
If you made extra gnocchi, cook them, put them in cold water, drain, add some olive oil and freeze them. When you want to cook them you can drop gnocchi in boiling salted water directly from the freezer, they will still taste super good.