When I was in elementary school, my mom was a caretaker for an old Italian woman, Margeurite. Margeurite was from the old country, had a huge garden and loved to cook when she was younger and healthier. When she got too old to do the housework on her own, Margeurite’s son hired my mom to help her around the house while my brother and I were in school. Often, my mom would help Margeurite cook the traditional Italian recipes that she craved…which is how my mom learned to make traditional homemade Italian foods such as hand-rolled pasta, minestrone, gnocchi, and these light cookie/waffle things that I don’t know the name of.
While I was home for Christmas, I tried to find the pasta roller that Margeurite gave my mom many, many years ago. However, without mom around to tell me where she’d squirreled it away…I was unable to find it. So instead of long ribbons of pasta, I thought I’d try gnocchi. I couldn’t find my mom’s recipe for gnocchi either, but had seen Smitten Kitchen’s recipe using a grater and thought the gnocchi would go perfect with my red-wine braised oxtail.
I followed the Smitten Kitchen recipe pretty closely, but only ended up using about 1 cup of flour. I also opted to pan-fry the gnocchi in butter rather than boil because I thought it would be a better texture contrast with the oxtail…and I was afraid I would end up with a gluey potato mess (which is what happened when my roommate in college tried to make gnocchi). Anyway, the recipe was surprisingly easy (more potato flavor than you get in restuarants) and the dumplings were delicious. I froze 2/3 of the batch for use another time.