Con tanto amore, this to me is what Italian Cuisine is all about. Made “with lots of love”. Italian food is about simplicity mixed in “with lots of love”. I think that is why Italian Cuisine has become popular. Simple, fresh, local foods are fused with lots of love to create absolutely amazing dishes that anyone can make. Throw in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, garlic, fresh produce, fresh herbs and wonderful Italian wines and you get foods that are healthy, artistic, marvelous and yes, exciting. Not only do I have a passion for Italian food, but I also love cooking and creating Italian dishes.
I guess that’s what Italian Cuisine is for me. Using foods and produce that are locally available and fresh to make simple, wonderful and delicious dishes. My passion is food, so what could be better than writing a blog about food. Sounds great but, food/recipes is really too big for just one blog. So, after a lot of thinking I decided that I would write about my favorite type of food, which happens to be Italian Cuisine.
Well, this too presented some problems for me, since Italian food, not only varies from region to region but Italian cuisine is quite varied and vast. Italian cuisine has been around since the 4th century BCE. That’s over 2,000 years.
So, where to start. That’s when it hit me. Why not start at the l’inizio “beginning”. And the beginning of Italian food for me is pasta! Sounds simple, but there are so many types of pasta and so many different dishes, my head was swimming with were to start. So, I decided, why not start at the beginning. The beginning of pasta or if you will the precursor or forerunner of pasta in my option is gnocchi. So, what better way to start a journey of Italian Cuisine than with gnocchi or Italian dumplings.
Maria’s Traditional Potato Gnocchi
2 lbs baking potatoes (about 4 large potatoes)
Bake the potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until the potatoes are soft.
Remove potatoes from the oven and let the potatoes cool to room temperature.
Scrape the insides of the potatoes into a medium to large mixing bowl.
Mash the potatoes with a potatoes masher.
Add the flour and mix together with the potatoes. Add the eggs and salt and mix until you have a firm, smooth dough.
Divide the dough into thirds.
On a floured surface use your hands to gently roll each section into a long rope about 1 inch around.
Cut the rope into 1 to 2 inch pieces.
Take the cut pieces of dough and using your finger lightly press the gnocchi onto the back of a fork, to make ridges in the dough.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Drop the gnocchi, a few at a time into a pot of boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the gnocchi float to the surface and stay on top.
Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and drain.
Serve hot with melted butter, fresh chopped Italian parsley and your favorite Italian cheese or serve with your favorite sauce.
Tip: If you have never made gnocchi before, it takes practice to roll the gnocchi on a fork to make the ridges (the ridges or grooves hold the sauce). If you do find this part difficult, you can just cut the gnocchi and cook them.
You could also purchase a Wooden Gnocchi Board (also called a Gnocchi Paddle) to make gnocchi. Grooves in the surface of the board give gnocchi their characteristic texture as the dough is rolled down and shaped on the board. I don’t have one of these, I make my gnocchi by rolling them on a fork.
I hope you enjoy my journey of Italian Cuisine and the Italian recipes that I have collected and saved throughout the years. I am always looking for new, exciting or different Italian recipes, tips and helpful hints. If you have any family Italian recipes that you would like to share with me, I would be happy to share them with the rest of the world.
Con tanto amore – With Lots of Love