Great Ocean Food: Gnocchi all over the world
Making gnocchi has never been my strong suit. Eating it has.
I consider myself somewhat of an expert gnocchi judge. For me, the appreciation of this iconic Italian “primo piatto” started in Lygon Street in the early Eighties.
Like most of the students attending Melbourne University at the time, Saturday night was spent eating out at one of the numerous pasta restaurants on the famous Italian strip. We could not afford the more expensive establishments, but there were dozens of places where a mountain of pasta could be had for under 10 dollars. At the time, almost all these eateries were BYO.
So, after playing football or rugby, we would head to Lygon Street with plenty of beer, less than 10 dollars each and with high expectations of a good night out. Rarely were we disappointed. The restaurateurs were often disappointed, having to put up with raucous student behavior; but that is another story for another day.
Needless to say, my favourite dish was gnocchi. It always came “al pomodoro” in a rich tomato-based sauce, with a basket of bread and butter. Since then I have had countless variations of gnocchi dishes in many different cities, including Rome, New York and, of course, Melbourne. Until last week, my favourite was Donnini’s in Melbourne, with Cotenna in Greenwich Village and Settimio in Rome second and third.
But for me the virus lockdown has had an unexpectedly delicious side effect. Our two daughters are staying with us (having been living in New York and Sydney) and are doing much of the cooking at home. It might be I have gone crazy in isolation or my judgment is clouded by sentiment, but I am pleased to announce my new all time favourite gnocchi was made right here at home by our youngest daughter. It was the classic sage and butter recipe using fresh sage from our garden. This is her method.