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One Italian family's (+ 1 Kiwi) take on the Italian food culture and how truly easy it is to make the real (Italian) McCoy! Plus some very cool musings from an "outsider's" point of view...

We're in London now, so you might discover some insider tips on where to find good Italian food here, as well as around the world.

thursday is the perfect day for gnocchi!

Hi guys, this is your Visionary Cook blogging for you today!

Today is thursday, I just saw a picture of home made gnocchi, my mouth started to water and therefore I decide to write about those funny dumplings called gnocchi!

 

Gnocchi are basically mashed potatoes & flour rolled into little balls resembling dumplings. Being small, there are lots of them, and so lots of surface area to soak up their sauce. They are one of Italy’s (and mine) favourite dishes! They’re good. They’re filling. And they go with just about any kind of sauce. In Roman times, they were made with a semolina porridge-like dough – thank goodness someone had the brains to bring the potato into Europe in the 16th century!

 

In our book we’ve inserted 2 recipes for 2 different types of gnocchi: potato gnocchi & pumpkin gnocchi. Pumpkin gnocchi are something else!!! Don’t be discouraged by what seems to be a difficult preparation. It’s not complicated at all, and it gets easier every time (remember how good it used to feel playing with Play-Doh). Initially you have to learn to judge the right consistency of the mixture. Even if we’ve written the right quantities of ingredients, it also depends on your personal taste. You may prefer a soft gnocchi (less flour) or a firmer gnocchi (more flour). If you’re not sure of the consistency of the dough, cook one gnocco and taste it. If it is too soft or falls apart add more flour to the dough. Cook the gnocchi in a large saucepan, with 10g of salt per litre of water (as is the same for pasta). The water must be boiling before adding the gnocchi. Cook a couple of handfuls of gnocchi at a time. If you add too many gnocchi to the water at one time, the water will cool down, which means the gnocchi will be submerged for too long and may fall apart. In about 3-4 minutes they’ll float to the surface; scoop them out with a large sieve or pierced ladle. And it’s always best to place them into a pre-warmed dish. Continue this process as fast as you can, adding spoonfuls of  your chosen sauce from time to time to the already cooked gnocchi, stirring gently before serving. My favourite gnocchi dish: Pumpkin gnocchi, with sage & butter sauce, with a healthy dose of parmesan thrown over before devouring! Too good for words!