Sunday, 6 January 2008
My brother Buster is moving overseas in a few days. He, Birdie and I went to our Nonna and Nonno's house on New Year's Eve for a farewell lunch. The guest of honour was allowed to choose the menu - without hesitation, Bus had asked Nonna to make gnocchi with sugo... our all-time favourite of her dishes! Despite the obvious lunacy of a hot meal in forty-bloody-two degrees celsius heat we proceeded and (of course) Nonna turned it into a four course epic. Mamma mia!
Nonna certainly had been busy that morning, preparing tray after tray of the world's softest gnocchi di patate (assisted in the rolling stage by Nonno).
Nonna boiling the gnocchi in her spotless kitchen (tinted blue because the blinds were lowered to keep out the heat).
Fishing the gnocchi out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon as they rose to the surface.
Adding a little of the sugo (a ragu), also made fresh that morning. Most Thursdays, I'm lucky enough to be given a small jar of Nonna's sugo to take home... :)
Gnocchi con sugo!
My Nonna wouldn't ever DREAM of having guests over and giving them "just" a pasta course. So the secondo piatto was polpette (meatballs) in leftover sugo, plus a salad featuring radicchio bianco triestino (wonderfully bittersweet) plucked from Nonno's garden just before we'd arrived.
Next came the obligatory cheese course. Apart from the Gorgonzola, Nonna and Nonno prefer hard cheeses, so we also had Piave, Montasio and Prima Donna.
And finally, fruit - lovely seedless grapes cold from the fridge and cherries (my obsession continues!). Nonna kept apologising that the meal had been so simple... :)
I was going to type up my notes on Nonna's recipe, but as I was writing this blog entry, my Google Reader account informed me that mellie from the blog Tummy Rumbles has this very afternoon written a fantastic entry on making traditional gnocchi di patate! Nonna's recipe and preparation method is virtually identical, except for the fact that Nonna waits until the salted potato moosh is cold before mixing in the other ingredients, and uses 2 eggs to 4 potatoes.
Allow me to say Happy New Year to everybody in polenta form! The polenta message is courtesy of F, who brought it along to the NYE party we attended... :)