Nan’s Mom’s Food Revolution Homemade Gnocchi

December 15th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

It’s that time of year to get cracking on some of the parts of my Christmas Eve dinner plans. Alas, my parents are abandoning us by visiting my sister and her family in South Carolina so I’ll have to grow up, buck up, bite the dang bullet and get a move on and plan our own thing! My Mom taught me how to make this recipe many years ago – the gnocchi that HER Mom taught her how to make. I turned up the Christmas carols, dawned a big ole apron and got these made and packaged up. Note to self for the next time, don’t wear black…..

8 cups all purpose flour
2 pounds ricotta cheese (regular or lower fat)
2 eggs, beaten

Put the cheese in a large mixing bowl. Combine the beaten eggs with the cheese. Add 4 cups of flour. Mix in with your pristine clean hands kneading, then add it 2 cups more and continue kneading. If the dough is still sticky add in more flour until it is no longer sticky. I have made this with 6 cups of flour and I have made this with 8 cups of flour. It’s all about the feel folks. That’s what’s important. Allow your mixture to rest for 10 minutes before proceeding to the next step.

Sprinkle some flour onto your pristine clean counter top and do some kneading on your counter. You may as well make your whole kitchen a mess!! When it feels right (not sticky and not dry), use a knife to cut the mammoth mixture into tennis to baseball sized pieces.

Roll out each one with your hands into long slim pieces, like you used to do with play-dough. Remember that?? See the pic to get an idea. Do this for half the mixture.

Lose the idea of making these things perfect and uniform or you’ll add another hour to the process. So, get a life!! Using a sharp knife cut across the elongated pieces of dough to create bite-sized gnocchi.

Using a floured fork roll each mini-pillow-sack diagonally and start filling up a cookie sheet with these. You’ll need a few sheets, trust me on that. Try not to have them touch. After the 800′th one, you won’t care anymore!! Once the cookie sheet is filled, pop the sheet into freezer to flash freeze your gnocchi. Repeat this process until you are finito with all the dough. When you’re done you’ll be singing Alleluia with the Christmas carols…..

Using 6 freezer bags and twist ties, take each cookie sheet out of your freezer (one at a time) and using a weigh scale if you have one, add 1 pound of frozen gnocchi to each bag, twist tie it and put the bag in your freezer. Repeat until you’re all done. Keep frozen until you plan to use them. Six pounds of gnocchi and 1 backache later you will have your fill for a while to come, OR Christmas Eve :-)

Boiling the Gnocchi
Of course I don’t think I need to tell you to use a pot big enough to boil the desired amount of gnocchi. Add the desired water to your pot with salt and bring to a roaring boil. Meanwhile simmer your sauce of choice in another pot. I have a few tomato saucy ideas in T & T’s recipe section so any will certainly do. Ok so when the water’s bubbling add in the frozen gnocchi. They will all sink to the bottom of the pot. As the water returns to boiling the gnocchi will rise to the top of the water. When they all rise up, strain, return to your pot and add your sauce of choice. Another good time to sing Alleluia after they rise up!!

Gnocchi with 4 Cheeses
Ok so I’ll divulge what I do for Christmas Eve. After boiling then straining a mother load of gnocchi, I put them back in the pot, then I’ll add a half pound each of of ricotta, shredded mozzarella, shredded parmesan and cut up gorgonzola cheese. I add in a boat load of tomato sauce and stir until my arm feels like it’ll fall off!! Talk about ooooey gooey goodness.

I pour this into a deep casserole dish, sprinkle more parmesan on top and add more tomatoes sauce then bake for ~20 minutes, until bubbling. You will need The Hulk to remove this pan from the oven to the table, then serve piping hot.

I usually make this and freeze it before baking so I’m not ready to collapse during Christmas Eve dinner. I defrost it at least a day or two in the fridge before serving.

I love traditional recipes that have been passed down through the ages. Talk about paying it forward, this is a recipe that keeps on giving. I have never met this Nona of ours, but I know she was right there helping knead the dough making them just right. I’m sure she’ll help you too. Surely I didn’t make these on my own, that’s for darn sure!!

If you have abandoned some of your family traditions consider giving your head a shake and revisiting some. These bind us as family from past, present and hopefully future. Enjoy!!

These go really well with a walk around your block, the farther the better :-)

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