Catalina's Gnocchi

This ricotta gnocchi recipe will make you feel like an Italian mama.

This dish was passed down from my mama's grandmother (my great-grandmother) who is the only proof in my ancestry that I am indeed Italian. Both my parents are of Chilean background, but my great-grandmother Catalina Sprovera was from a tiny Italian town called Provincia Potenza. She boated over to Chile during the first world war and fell in love with a Chilean fella. I only met her once, when I was two, so I'm a little dusty on the details. But my mum recalls a strong 4'11" Italian woman kneading like it was a sport, making the kitchen smell like an Italian trattoria and talking everybody's ear off in her Italian-Spanish.

Making this dish with my mum is always really special because we get to catch up beyond the superficial "work, busy, good" check in. We get to have a good gossip, she gets to keep her nonna's spirit alive through food and it feels like therapy. You come out feeling like you've gotten everything off your chest and best of all you get a good feed at the end of it.

So every time I eat this meal it's great to know this recipe has been passed down through four generations of women and that I really had this whole Italian thing in me all along! Perhaps this is where my fascination with Italy all started, with that one trip to Chile when I met my bis-nonna.

So here I share with you a very special recipe, which really encompasses what Italian cooking and From The Table Top means to me. Family, sharing, laughing, gossiping and of course eating!

Bolognese Ricotta Gnocchi della mama

Prep time: 1 hour 30 min Cook time: 10 mins Serves: 10

Ingredients

Gnocchi:

  • 700g Ricotta
  • 1kg of plain flour (900g for gnocchi, 100g for sprinkling)
  • 3 eggs
  • Salt

Sauce:

  • 1kg of lean minced meat
  • Handful of oregano
  • 2 onions
  • 1 capsicum
  • 2 teaspoons of chilli flakes
  • 1 bottle of pasta sauce
  • Salt
  • Parmesan Cheese for serving

Instructions

Gnocchi

  1. Place all the 900g of flour in a bowl and create a little well in the centre to place 600g of your ricotta and 3 eggs. Combine slowly and make sure all the ingredients bind. Then add the remaining ricotta.
  2. Once all the ingredients have bound you should have a moist dough, knead the dough for about 3-5 minutes until fully combined and soft.
  3. Let it sit in a dry but cool area in the kitchen for around 10 minutes ( look at the sauce instructions below, now is a good time to start on it) , this will let the ricotta properly bind in the dough and let any additional moisture escape
  4. Divide the dough into rectangles and roll out into a snake like shape, use extra flour so the gnocchi don't dry out
  5. From here cut along your rolled out dough, so that you have little squares ( note: when you cook they will expand so the smaller the better) again using flour to avoid drying out
  6. If you don't have a board you need to use a wooden surface (chopping board will do!) and use your index finger to indent into the morsel and roll toward your body you should have a curled little gnocchi like nonna used to make.
  7. Start to boil the water and add salt. Place your gnocchi in the water and cook until they float to the surface. (around 5 minutes)

 

SAUCE:

  1. Dice your onion and capsicum
  2. Place your mince in a hot pot with olive oil, let it brown and add the onions and capsicum which have been finely diced.
  3. Add salt, chilli, oregano
  4. Add a bottle of passata and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes ( so start making this when you let the pasta dough rest)

Assembling:

  1. Once the gnocchi have floated to the top, remove from the water and add a good spoonful of sauce.
  2. Top off with parmesan and mangia!