From Veneto- the cookbook
Updated: Feb 4
Taiadele col conejo, Bigoi col ragù de anara, Faraona rosta, Bisato in umido, Linguine alle vongole e limone, Folpetti e patate, I kept reading the names of the recipes in Veneto and thinking which one I will choose, which one I will be able to make. Will I go for the one with familiar ingredients - octopus or clams - that I have so long not eaten, or will I challenge myself with the fancier ones, something out of the ordinary? Problems of abundance. Of course, that was at least before coronavirus spread in Turkey.
Restrictions kicked in, schools were closed. With my four-year old kid at home, daily menu is no longer my sole decision but a matter of negotiation. Our house has been put upside down. To keep a small child engaged, active, surprised, enthusiastic and happy, while not loosing one’s patience and mind, is not easy in normal circumstances, let alone during the times of isolation. The partial lockdown has transformed our four walls into an office, a restaurant, a park, a gym, a concert hall, a cinema and a kindergarten, in which I have officially become “Miss Georgia” after Nina’s teacher; and just like that, from one moment to the other, I started trying to do what I have long suspected to be one of the most demanding jobs on this earth. For several hours each day I “teach” my daughter and her classmates (who, by the power of imagination, “show up” every morning on-time for class) how to paint, draw, cut, write, tell stories, do math, make crafts, dance, exercise, sing and, well … cook. Yes, cook. When one hasn’t got the necessary pedagogic preparation, the possibility that ideas may soon run scarce is a constant fear.
Bye-bye I had to say to the rabbits, ducks, guinea fowl and octopus. Instead, we decided to prepare Valeria’s Gnocchetti al pesto, an exacting multidisciplinary project that did not only involve staining our hands with orange and white watercolors and many of Nina’s other artistic talents, but also brought to light my daughter’s cooking skills. She mixed, rolled out, cut, transferred and dusted her little flour and potato pillows, and after they had been boiled and tossed with our homemade pesto, she proudly presented them to her daddy and finished the whole dish with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan.
Well, I know I am biased, but judging by the sounds my husband and Nini made while eating them, I think those were the best gnocchi we have had in a very long time.