Everything I know about cooking, I learned from my mother and grandmothers. Their recipes, techniques and general love for cooking were all passed on to me the second I was old enough to hold a spoon and understand that the stove was hot. Since then, I’ve broadened my culinary skills from the traditional Italian foods I grew up with, but I still love returning home to those comforting meals. This dish was passed down to me from my Noni (maternal grandmother) and will always be one of my favorites. No matter where I am in the world or what is happening with my life, making and eating her gnocchi never fails to bring me nostalgia and comfort.
4 cups semolina flour
4 cups whole milk ricotta
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
Flour for dusting work surface
4 cups tomato sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Combine semolina and salt in a large bowl. Create a well in the middle and add the eggs. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour. Once all the flour is incorporated (it will have a crumbly appearance) add the ricotta and combine until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is too sticky, continue to add spoonfuls of flour until it becomes workable.
Dust the work surface with flour and knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a bowl and cover.
Break off a handful of dough and roll into a half-inch thick rope. Cut into one-inch pieces and roll each piece over a fork with your thumb to create ridges.
Continue this process with the remainder of the dough. Place a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the gnocchi (you may need to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your pot) and cook until the gnocchi is floating at the surface. Remove promptly and place in a serving dish. Cover with tomato sauce and top with mozzarella cheese. Buon Appetito!
Time: 2 hours
Yield: 16 servings
(Yes, this recipe makes a large amount of gnocchi – to be expected from an Italian family! Cut the ingredients in half if you’d like to make less. It also freezes well when cooked.)