Quality time is family time with Patrizia

Spending time with my family is something near and dear to my heart. I know how lucky I am. Not everyone has had the kind of childhood I’ve had. Most people look at our family and think there’s something just a little different about them, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. I have friends who have started counting down to Christmas because it`s the next time they will spend time with their families. I on the other hand am fortunate to be able to see my family on a regular basis and enjoy dinner together every week. This was especially important to my father when he was alive. He lived for his children, for his family and looked forward to having all of us around the table enjoying a Sunday’s meal together. When we were growing up (still growing up) we had our moments. We had our disagreements, we argued, yelled and played tricks on each other, but through it all we were family, and we stuck with each other whether we liked it or not, through thick and thin and I’m glad I have the family I have. Most of us have a whirlwind of activities which start on Monday morning, ends on Sunday night and then begins all over again. Time slips by so quickly as we rush around to complete tasks which relate to jobs, running the household, chauffeuring our children, our parents, school, appointments and commitments. Yet, we all acknowledge, that spending quality time together is the best way we have to show each other that we care for each other. I love when we decide to pull out old albums and talk about the hundreds of photos scattered across the kitchen table. It is important for our children to be interested in and heed the stories and events of our past. Reminiscing and sharing memories tells us who we are and draws meaning to our past. So much would be lost for our younger generations if we didn’t share the events of our past. This morning I realized how I had done something that my mother does all the time. I grew up listening to my mother recite a child litany: enz-anton-anna-MANNAGGIA-Patrizia! It was common for mom to get our names wrong, she still does! I don’t mean that she really thinks I am Anna and she is me, I just mean that when she starts a conversation with me, she’ll at times call someone else’s name first. I have a question for all you parents of more than one child, do you accidentally call one child by the other child’s name? Those of you with no kids, or only one child, did your parents ever do this to you?
Later today, when my family has gathered around my mom’s kitchen table for dinner I know that I will ask them these questions and I suspect that I won’t be alone as I am sure that each of them will have noticed they also do the same thing with their own children.
I encourage all of you to take time and sit down together as a family and reminisce and listen to your family’s history I have the perfect dish for you to serve. It is my all-time favorite and only just learned that it was my dad’s favorite.
It is truly a crowd-pleasing dish.
Gnocchi with tomato and mozzarella
Ingredients for the assembly: 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 garlic clove, chopped finely, 1 x 400g can peeled or chopped tomatoes, pinch of salt, 10 basil leaves, torn into pieces, 60g grated parmesan, and 200g fresh mozzarella.
For the gnocchi: 1kg starchy potatoes, 1 medium/large sized egg, beaten, 2 tsp salt, 250g fluor, plus extra for dusting.
Prepare a tomato sauce by heating the olive oil gently with the garlic. Let the garlic soften but not colour. At the slightest hint of colouring, add the canned tomato, along with about 200ml of water, a pinch of salt and half the basil leaves. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Set aside until needed.
For the gnocchi, rinse the potatoes of any dirt but keep them whole with skins on. Place on a tray and roast until a fork easily pierces the potatoes, about 35 minutes for medium-sized potatoes. Peel the skins off the potatoes while still hot (by holding the potato with a fork with one hand and using the other hand to peel with a small, sharp knife) and immediately mash until perfectly smooth, spreading out the mashed potato on a tray or chopping board to allow the steam to escape quickly.
Continue with the rest of the potatoes, and then collect the cooled, smooth mashed potato into a wide bowl or clean surface.
2Add the egg and one teaspoon of salt to the potato and begin to beat well to incorporate fully. Begin incorporating the flour and knead it to a smooth dough until it just comes together. Turn onto a floured surface and, taking fist-sized portions of dough, roll into a log about 1 1/2cm wide, and then cut the log into 2cm long pieces.
2Dust liberally with flour and place the gnocchi pieces onto a sheet of baking paper.
Continue with the rest of the gnocchi mixture.
2Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add one teaspoon of salt to the water and turn to a simmer. Tip the gnocchi into the pot (a tip: taking the baking paper by two opposite corners, simply place the entire sheet of paper, yes, paper and all, into the water then pull the paper out).
2Cook two to three minutes or until the gnocchi begin to float and feel springy. Drain the gnocchi immediately and add to the tomato sauce, tossing to coat, and then pour the gnocchi into a baking dish.
2Sprinkle the top of the gnocchi with the parmesan and dot the top with the mozzarella and the rest of the basil. Place in oven at 180C for 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbling.
Buon Appetito!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s