Month of January: “Essentials of Classical Italian Cooking” Recipe: Potato Gnocchi and Tomato Sauce with Onion

” I consider cooking to be an act of love. I do enjoy the craft of cooking, of course, otherwise I would not have done so much of it, but that is a very small part of the pleasure it brings me. What I love is to cook for someone. To put a freshly made meal on the table, even if it is something very plain and simple as long as it tastes good and is not a ready-to-eat something bought at the store, is a sincere expression of affection, it is an act of binding intimacy directed at whoever has a welcome place in your heart. And while other passions in your life may at some point begin to bank their fires, the shared happiness of good homemade food can last as long as we do.” Marcella Hazan

Well that just about says it all when it comes to my family of origin. Food was/is an expression of love. I am grateful daily for the simple beauty they handed down to me to sit together every day and share a meal made with mindfulness and care. It is a sadly undervalued ritual in the rush a day world we live in now and so many people miss out on this important connection with their families. But in my house the kitchen and the table are always the centerpiece of home.

5 generations (1985)

Potato Gnocchi

Ingredients: 1.5 pounds boiling potatoes, 1.5 cups all purpose flour

Boil potatoes in their skins in a large pot of water until tender. Remove, cool and peel. Puree through a food mill into a pile on your working space. Add flour and work the flour into the potato until soft and smooth but slightly sticky. Flour work space, cut dough in half and form into 1 inch snakes with your hands while rolling the dough back and forth. Cut into 3/4 inch pieces. Here is the trickiest part; shaping the gnocchi. For this I am just going to advise you to watch a video online. It’s just too hard to explain! Boil at least 4-6 quarts of water, add salt and then throw in 2-3 gnocchi to test. Once they float to the top it takes about 10-15 seconds to cook. Drain with slotted spoon to a bowl and continue until completed. (I won’t kid you gnocchis are tricky to get even but I am quite pleased with my first try!!)

Tomato Sauce with Onion

Ingredients: 2 cups Italian plum tomatoes with juices, 1/2 onion, peeled and cut in half, 5 tablespoons of butter.

Put all ingredients in a pan and cook for 45 minutes on a low simmer. Discard onion after cooking and add salt to taste. I used the food mill and my home made canned tomatoes to make a smoother sauce. Easy, delicious. Add parmesan as desired.

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