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Making Nonna’s Homemade Gnocchi

By Daniel Casciato

When I think of comfort food, the first thing that comes to mind is my mom’s homemade gnocchi.

Our kiddo thinks so too!

These fluffy pillows of goodness have always been a staple at our Sunday dinners, made from potatoes and shaped into bite-sized pieces. And as my mom celebrated her 71st birthday yesterday, I wanted to honor her by sharing her recipe with you.

To start, she peels and then boils 5 pounds of Idaho potatoes until they’re soft enough to mash. Let it cool.

She then mixes 2-1/2 cups of flour, 2 eggs, and salt until the dough is smooth and pliable.

Next comes the fun part: rolling out the dough into long ropes and cutting them into small pieces.

On a floured board, use a rolling pin to roll the dough flat like a pizza about 1/2″ thick. Then cut the dough into 1/2″ strips.

Using both hands roll out each strip of dough about as thick as your little finger. You can sprinkle flour during this process to keep the dough from sticking together. After the dough is rolled out, cut each strip into 1 1/2″ pieces.

Once the gnocchi is shaped, my mom boils them in salted water until they float to the surface. This only takes a few minutes, and it’s important not to overcook them, or they’ll become mushy.

She serves the gnocchi with her homemade tomato sauce made from tomatoes, onion, olive oil, and basil. The sauce is bright and flavorful, but it doesn’t overpower the delicate flavor of the gnocchi.

Homemade gnocchi with homemade sauce and homemade meatballs!

There’s something about homemade gnocchi that feels special. Maybe it’s the love and care that go into making them, or maybe they’re a reminder of simpler times when we gathered around the table as a family. Whatever it is, I know that whenever we have our mom’s gnocchi, I’ll be transported back to those Sunday dinners and the warmth and comfort they brought.

But don’t take my word for how delicious it is. Here’s a photo of our daughter enjoying her Nonna’s Gnocchi several years back.

And in January 2014, on the way home from Pittsburgh to South Bend, Indiana, we had to sleep two nights in a hotel in Montpelier, Ohio, because of a blizzard in the MidWest. Thankfully we had Nonna’s gnocchi to feast on for two days straight!

So here’s to our mom (and Nonna), who has always been the heart and soul of our family. Happy 71st birthday, Mom, and thank you for teaching us how to make the best gnocchi in the world!

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