October 5, 2023

Oct 4, 2023

Image: Nina Bisognani

A Family Tradition


The air is crisp. Red and yellow hues begin to wash over leafy green trees in our yards. We decorate our doorsteps with colorful pumpkins and chrysanthemums that echo the changes we see in nature. 

Memories of cookouts and salad days are replaced by thoughts of simmering soups, root vegetables, and full, warm tummies. At our house, the time to get together for an annual family tradition of making homemade gnocchi for the coming holidays has arrived.

Making gnocchi is fairly simple, but it takes the good part of an afternoon with people working together toward a single goal. The final outcome is a delicious dish we all look forward to sharing every year. 

Our family recipe was brought over from Italy three generations ago.
We use basic ingredients: four large russet potatoes, 3-4 eggs, 2 tbsp butter, a pinch of salt and 1 cup of flour for each potato. We cook the potatoes with skins on, peel them while hot and mash them until smooth. Then we make a well in the center of the potatoes, add the remaining ingredients and mix by hand as our ancestors did. No food
processors here.

We knead the dough on an old floured board and cut it into 3 or 4 pieces with a kitchen knife that belonged to my husband’s grandmother. By the time we are finished we are covered in flour. Our granddaughter loves rolling the dough into snake-like strips, as we all cut them in one-inch pieces and indent them with our fingers to hold our favorite homemade sauce. It is messy and fun. Finally we cook the gnocchi in water until they float. They freeze very well.

Voila! A delicious meal made by many hands together and happy memories to carry with us over the cold months ahead.

Story & Photo by Nina Bisognani