One of the things I like most about Cooking with Friends is that I get to try cooking new foods all the time. Since my friends and neighbors have different cooking abilities and strengths, when I cook with them, I’m always learning something new! Cooking with friends provides endless ways to learn techniques, try new things and explore various cuisines. It’s also the cheapest cooking lesson out there! Plus I get to make new friends, strengthen relationships and have fun while I am doing it!
So, when Lou invited me and Liz over to make gnocchi, I instantly accepted his offer. Although I had never really been a huge fan of gnocchi, I knew that hand rolled gnocchi, under Lou (my extremely talented and accomplished neighbor) had to be good! So we set up a cooking date.
When Liz and I arrived at Lou’s house last Tuesday morning, we found two neat work stations for us to work side by side. We each had a bowl, a measuring cup, eggs and a hand carved (by Lou) gnocchi paddle. This was Lou’s stage to guide us through the steps of making home-rolled gnocchi.
He instructed us to make a well in a mound of three cups flour, add some salt, two beaten eggs and work well with your hands. Add one a half cups ricotta cheese, a third a cup parmesan cheese and spray a bit of water to keep the mixture moist. Once our dough was made, Lou demonstrated how simple it is to turn fist-sized balls of dough, with a bit of rolling, cutting and squeezing into perfect gnocchi. In less than an hour, both
Liz and I had a full tray.
He insisted upon cooking a sample for lunch, presenting it with his intensely flavored veal demi-glace and a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It was a sensational lunch and a wonderful reward for learning something new. I served some of my gnocchi to friends on Saturday evening, topped with a meaty marinara sauce and they marveled at how good the gnocchi tasted. These little flour dumplings made me feel so proud. And being able to pull them out of the freezer and serve them within minutes made me feel pretty darn gourmet.