Before I give you this recipe, I want to tell you a funny story about my grandfather Ildebrando.
Armando’s dad, Ildebrando, was a train conductor for Vagon Leit which meant he travelled round Europe every day. Whenever he had a long stopover in Rome, he’d get a sudden longing for gnocchi . is may seem normal (there’s nothing unusual about a Roman wanting a plate of gnocchi), but the fact is that my grandfather didn’t like potatoes and referred to gnocchi as “potatoes dressed up for a party”.
My grandmother Velia, his wife, knowing him well, would make the gnocchi anyway, even though she knew he wouldn’t be home for lunch that day, trotting out the excuse that some friends had invited him out and he couldn’t say no.
e men of yore, … and the wives of yore! Ingredients (serves 6)
2 kg (41⁄2 pounds) oury potatoes 300-400g (101⁄2-14oz) our Tomato or meat (beef ) sauce Parmigiano
Pecorino romano Salt to taste
For the same six people, six very lucky ones because we’re al- ways cooking for them in my recipes, you’ll need two kilos (41⁄2 pounds) of potatoes, from Avezzano if possible, 400g (14 oz) our, a sugo d’umido (sauce formed during the cooking of a pot roast), and copious amounts of Parmesan and Pecorino ro- mano.
Boil the potatoes then drain and peel (gnocchi don’t tend to turn out well with the skins on), mash with that potato-masher thingy; once they’re cool, mix them with the our and work together into a soft, springy dough. Cut into chunks and roll them out on a oured surface into sausages that should be as thick as your finger and as long as you want because you’re then going to cut the sausage down into smaller, 2cm (3⁄4 inch) dumplings.
Be careful you don’t cut your fingers, because while the rare look may be desirable for a T-bone, gnocchi dripping blood are probably not going to have the same appeal. Or not the one you hoped for anyway.
Some people press their middle finger into the dumplings and others score with a fork. Trust me, they’ll still taste the same. Line them up, now, like little soldiers, all white and oury, on a oured cloth, and put on a pot of salted water to boil. When the water’s ready, empty in a few gnocchi at a time and wait for them to oat to the top of the boiling sea. Use a slotted spoon to lift them out, drain and place in a serving bowl in layers, alternating with the sauce, and the grated Parmesan and Pecorino.
A sure re success!