Let me preface this by saying that I am not Italian. I’m just a busy mom who cooks dinner from scratch for her family each and every night. And sometimes that ‘from scratch’ needs a little help, a little short cut. I mean, really. Who doesn’t love a short cut? I’ve made gnocchi before, and I really love doing it. Even with my busy schedule, if I can carve out the time to do it, I love the method of making gnocchi. It makes me feel a little closer to all of the women who have been doing this same thing for years and years for their children, it’s relaxing and comforting to me, like making bread. I probably even smile while I’m doing it.
I make sweet potato gnocchi*, usually with whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour, I make parsnip gnocchi using the same, and sometimes I make plain, yet delicious gnocchi using white potatoes instead of the sweet. I go through all the necessary steps, following tradition for the most part, except that I don’t usually make the indentations on my gnocchi. That, I can live without. I know it’s traditional and I know its purpose is to hold onto the sauce better, and I get all of that but…it just takes a really, really, long time after I did all the other steps. And it tastes the same to me.
But today, as I was making my gnocchi, I looked down at my big bowl of dough. I got to the point where I usually would have separated it into sections and rolled each section out into dowels and then sliced pieces off of each dowel to make the little gnocchi. But this time I stood over that bowl, and thought,
I reached my hands into that bowl of dough and took out little pieces and rolled each piece in the palm of my hand to make little balls, as if I were making truffles…
And then, once my water came up to a rolling boil, I looked down at my little balls and decided to do something I have never, ever done before. I picked up each of those little balls and gave them a special treat.
I dropped those gnocchi-lookin’ balls into the boiling water and cooked them like usual.
And when I tasted one, I smiled.
(*My other gnocchi recipes: Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Leeks and Tarragon Cream, Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Braised Collard Greens and Sausage.)