Homemade Gnocchi is delicious, satisfying, inexpensive and it’s relatively easy to make, but that’s not the reason I love it. Rolling out Gnocchi reminds me of two beautiful, intelligent, highly capable, caring, warm hearted women, I respect and love my Moms.
In 2012, my now Husband brought me home to Italy for the first time. During this trip Bello’s Mom, the women I now call Mamma, taught me how to make the lightest, fluffiest Gnocchi I had ever had.
At the time we could barely speak to each other due to a language barrier. Darn you Tower of Babel! Thankfully, food and love translate all languages and Mamma patiently demonstrated how she made the best Gnocchi on the planet. After boiling the potatoes, running them through a potato ricer and adding just the right amount of flour, Mamma began rolling out the Gnocchi into rope like lines.
At that moment I smiled, because this part, the rolling of the dough into a rope, this part was familiar to me, from of all places, MY Mom a proud Norwegian American. I grew up making a traditional Norwegian pastry called Kringla that requires rolling spoonfuls of dough into a rope, then twisting it into the shape of a pretzel. Oh lord, I need to share that recipe, it’s addictive! Anyway, back to the tale of Gnocchi at hand.
When it came time for me to help Mamma roll out the Gnocchi, I was ready. I stepped over and expertly rolled out a perfect rope and Mamma said… well something in Italian, and started excitedly pointing out my handy work to Papà and Bello. I didn’t have to speak Italian to get the gist of her excitement. It takes a lot of Kringla or in Mamma’s case Gnocchi practice to make rolling dough into a rope look so effortless.
Thankfully this was a gift my Mom gave me young and so from that day forth, each time I make Gnocchi, it reminds me of my Moms, both of them, and all the great times we’ve shared in the kitchen together.
How to Make Homemade Gnocchi
The secret to making Gnocchi light, is skipping the eggs and handling the dough as little as possible, both of which weigh Gnocchi down. Most recipes call for starchy potatoes like russets but I follow my Mamma and use golden because they just taste so good. Get a feel for the dough, mix in just enough flour to where it’s no longer clinging to your hands as you work with it. Make sure to use a low boil and have fun with how you use your Gnocchi, from Brown Butter Sage to In-Season Tomatoes sautéed with olive oil and Basil, you can hardly go wrong.
It might take a few trials but I promise it’s worth it in the long run. Just think how inexpensive the ingredients are and how often you have them in your pantry!
There is a bonding that happens with women in the kitchen and it’s a tradition as old as man. Even if you can’t speak the same language, you can share the work and feel good knowing you love, care and provide for your family in a way no restaurant can, that’s homemade.