I’m tired. I’m also happy.
Yesterday made me very, very tired. I worked my bananas off….really. Have you ever made Gnocchi (nyowk-kee)? You know, that wonderful, pillowy, potato, dumpling-shaped pasta that goes so well with spaghetti sauce? The one we only have at Christmas because it takes all day to make in quantity? The pasta that’s only made for those you love? … that’s the one! I put the potatoes in the oven to bake pretty early since I still had to clean house (natch) and make the sauce.
The potatoes were cool enough to put through the ricer — a unitasker that makes the most wonderful mashed potatoes. Truly indispensible in making gnocchi, but hard to use if your wrists are big babies, like mine. I did get them all riced and piled up on the counter. Made a well in the center and dropped the eggs in the middle. I put the recipe at the bottom of the page for reference.
Using my very best Mario Batali impression, I sprinkled flour over top and swirled it all around making the dough. Adding more flour to make if workable, but not tough, I ended up with a nice ball of soft dough that rolled and cut really nicely into the basic gnocchi shape.
Gnocchi is shaped differently, by different people. The most common shape is the little dumplings like above, rolled off a fork to give it tine marks — all the better to hold sauce. Our family’s shape, though, is more like a thumbprint, giving each pillow a little pool of sauce inside.
See that little indentation? That’s where the sauce puddles up and gets all yummy and heavenly. Anyway, it took about 2 hours to roll out enough of these little puppies to feed all 10 people.
House got clean and the rest of the meal got made. Arancini di Riso (fried balls of risotto with mozarella cheese oozing inside) were made for appetizers — we’d had risotto on Sunday! I showered, changed and took my exausted feet through one last swipe of the vacuum through the living room. Wine was chosen and guests arrived. Yup, I was beat.
Gnocchi was simmered, dinner served right on time and, amazingly, there was enough for everyone. We did lick the platter clean, but only because they were so yummy that we couldn’t help ourselves! This was not a testament to my incredible cooking, but rather, to the fact that Gnocchi makes everyone happy. Always.
Still, you might wonder why I did to to all this trouble? Because making Gnocchi is a gift I give to those I love most. One of the ones I love most of all had a special day yesterday…my very first baby celebrated his 25th birthday! Almost to the hour of his birth, we all sat down to celebrate his arrival in our lives. His grandparents, his brother and sister and us, his parents. We finished by looking at photos of him when he was just born and recalling how that day, 25 years ago, brought joy to us all. It was a truly wonderful day and a truly wonderful evening!
Today, like October 20, 1984, I am tired – but very, very happy. And, yes, I worked my bananas off that day, too!