Four years ago Erin Jordan came to Italy and the first thing she ate was gnocchi, Italy’s potato and flour reponse to knoedel. At the Arrival Dinner on her first night in Perugia, Jordan sat down to the table with all her fellow students and had…gnocchi. It seemed only natural then that, when asked to write about an Italian food by her creative writing professor, Erin chose gnocchi.
“Write what you know,” is the old adage, so Erin decided to cook first, write later. A low-cost yet filling alternative to dinner out at the ristorante, gnocchi combine simplicity (potatoes, flour, salt) with versatility: like other kinds of pasta, they lend themselves to combination with practically any kind of sauce. Perennial Italian favorites are melted butter and sage or a simple tomato sauce, but gnocchi are forgiving, though not a quick meal.
Jordan, with the help from her roommates, spent about two hours peeling, boiling, and mashing the potatoes, then mixing in the flour and salt, rolling out the long cylinder of dough, and cutting up the gnocchi. The time was worth it, though, as the meal was delicious, providing not only nourishment but a perfect point of departure for Jordan’s creative writing assignment.
Complimenti and buon appetito!