Dear Foodies & Friends,
I’m about a year and a half away from graduating, and while half of me absolutely dreads the thought of ‘adulting’ in the big wide world, the other half is incredibly excited about what the future will hold. I love to travel, and my primary motivation for not being a couch potato is, that if I work hard, I’ll be able to travel the world and experience all the things I dream of. One of those dreams? Visiting Italy. Not only is Italy home to some of the best cuisine, it has a rich history, is loud, vibrant, and breathtakingly beautiful. I love how expressive and passionate the people are. They are truly so proud of their identities.
Back when I was in middle school, Angels and Demons by Dan Brown had just come out, and my curiosity for Italy grew ten-fold. I have always been fascinated with religion and culture so the themes of the book (those parts which can be claimed as historically factual 😛 ) really resonated with me. Over the years I have only found more and more reasons to visit the country (most of which have something to do with food, ahem ahem), and I’m just waiting for the day I can afford my own travels.
In the meantime, I watch hours of the fabulous Chef Gennaro Contraldo cook on Youtube, and try to whip up my own recipes. I was really feeling a craving this one fine day, and decided to satisfy it with some homemade gnocchi. I made two versions-this one, with peas and bacon, and another with fresh garden vegetables and a light balsamic sauce. I’ll post that recipe soon. Oh my my (doing my best Gennaro impression) were they delicious! My mom is not the biggest pasta fan and she licked her bowl clean! Here’s how you make it! 😀
Gnocchi with Bacon & Peas
- 2-3 large potatoes
- 1 and a half cups of flour
- 1 egg
- Salt to taste
- 250 gms fresh or frozen peas
- 3 rashers of bacon (use pancetta if you have it, it’s more authentic)
- 1 tbsp of butter
- Pepper to taste
- Thyme (I only had dried thyme on hand but fresh is better)
- Lemon juice
FOR THE PASTA
STEP 1: To make the pasta, steam the potatoes in a pressure cooker until soft. Avoid boiling them in water is this makes them absorb too much water. Peel and pass through a sieve.
STEP 2: Make a well in the center and add the egg. Mix the potatoes, flour and egg together, adding more flour if you need it. It’s always better to start with less flour to ensure that the gnocchi are light.
STEP 3: Roll out the dough and and cut into thumb size pieces. Press each piece against a fork or ridged surface to give the gnocchi a more classic effect. Bring a large cauldron to boil and add the pasta to it gently. When it rises up to the surface, you will know that the gnocchi is fully cooked.
STEP 4: If you have pinched a gnocchi (or two 😛 ) for yourself like I do, you will see that the texture is almost pillowy. the gnocchi is ready to go as it, but I like to roll it around in a pan with some melted butter, garlic and some herbs. Don’t neglect this step, it adds a lot of flavour to the dish.
BACON & PEAS
STEP 5: In the same pan which had the buttered gnocchi, fry some bacon, and add in the peas, thyme and lemon juice. Taste for seasoning, Et voilà! Bon Appétit! 😀
P.S. I ran out of thyme, so this dish is garnished with sage leaves, which I love! They are beautiful and elevate the presentation of food.