Thursday, November 19, 2009

Potato Gnocchi

Potato Gnocchi are small dumpling made from potatoes, flour and eggs. Gnocchi were born in Northern Italy but nowadays they are common in other regions of Italy as well. The secret behind a perfectly textured gnocchi is not to over work the dough.

Since the beginning of the Modern Age, the “baccanal del gnocco,” a festival celebrating the dish, has taken place every year during Carnival celebrations in Verona. This festival stems from a historical event on 1531, when Verona was in a terrible famine.
 On the last day of Carnival Tommaso Da Vico paid for bread, wine, flour and cheese to be distributed to exhausted and hungry people Since then ,each year, an old man with a long white beard and a red trumpet sticks a golden fork into a gnocco and rides around on a mule, together with other helpers, giving out candies and packages of gnocchi.

When we went to school, Carnivale was always such an enjoyable time as we did nothing but talk about parties and costumes which only the most courageous dared to wear .But the last friday of Carnivale (‘venerdi grasso ’ as we say in Italian or ‘fat Friday!) was a very special day: our kitchen was invaded by trays covered with traditional Carnivale fare of dark bread paper, sprinkled with flour and hundreds of gnocchi.

Like a true Veronese, our mother never forgot gnocchi on that Friday, which is called “Gnocco Friday” in Verona

Gnocchi di Patate
(Potato Gnocchi)

1Kg potatoes
1 egg
Pinch of salt
250g flour
16gr packet of baking powder

Boil the potatoes, mash them and leave them to cool. Add the flour, salt, egg and baking powder. Knead together very quickly and shape the mixture into a ball.
 Take small portions of pasta from the dough and place them on the rolling board. Make them into finger-sized cylinders.
Cut the cylinders into 2cm pieces.
Then form them into gnocchi with the appropriate utensil such as with a fork. Place them in salted, boiling water and wait for them to come up to the surface. Now drain them and serve with the sauce you prefer.

Sauce: melted butter, gorgonzola, pesto, quattro formaggi, rocket (rucola), tomato sauce ,Taleggio cheese andchives, butter and sage

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