Monday, 16 November 2009

Gnocchi with Traditional Italian Tomato Sauce

So now for a huge update:
After many trials and tribulations in the UK, I was offered a teaching position in Italy, in the area I had visited whilst on holiday.
The offer was tempting-a good school and amazing food|

It took me a while to make my mind up but in the end I thought it would be a good cultural experience for my self and 'Iloveflavourme JR,' i.e my 6 year old.

So I packed my pans and he packed his toys and we both headed off to the land of Balsamic Vinegar, Modena, just outside of Bologna.
We have been here for just over a month now and it certainly has been an Experience, with its ups and downs and plenty of yummy pasta and pizza to make up for it.

My students have been the most positive aspect of it all. Very friendly, warm and so keen to put up with me!.
I am grateful for the hours of enjoyment, while they endured the hardship of trying to understand what the hell this weird British woman is teaching them, or even, saying to them!

You should be able to gather by now that I have bullied them into reading this blog and therefore need to keep them sweet as possible!
But seriously, they really are a great bunch and have managed to smooth some the harshest aspects of the cultural shock involved when moving to another country.

A few weeks back I gave them an assignement. The assignment was to write a typical recipe of the region in English. You can see how unselfish I was being in my request!!

In return, I promised that I would publish this recipe on the blog and therefore make them famous all over the internet.
Of course they did not believe a single word of that, but being the kind, hospitable souls  they are, they granted me the privilige of getting to know some of their culinary secrets and hey presto! I managed to get myself some yummy recipes!
I also promised them I would publish the recipes one at a time, as they were sent, with no ammendments! They should be proud of their English, unless they used Google translator, of course...yes, you know who you are lol

This recipe comes from a lovely lady called Maria Grazia! She has the warmest of smiles and she never, ever stops smiling either!!
She is indeed a Ray of Sunshine in the classroom, even at 8 pm on a cold Tuesday evening!

Thank you Maria Grazia!

'Gnocchi di patate


1 Kg. Potatoes
200 gr.of  flour
50 gr. Parmesan cheese grated
70 gr. Butter

Boil the potatoes in their skins, drain, peel and mash dropping the mash on the floured pastry board. 
Then mix with the flour and pinch of salt.
Mix the ingredients well and knead.
Cut the mixture into small dumpliongs, and one at a time, roll on the fork by pressing with your thumb.
Place on a floured cloth until ready to use. 
Bring to boiling salted water, toss the gnocchi in and remove them with a slotted spoon when they start to float (drain well)
Arrange on warm serving dish, sprinkle with melted butter and grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

 I like this dish with tomato sauce: some onions, carrots, celery and fresh tomatoes.

In a small pot, pour in some olive oil or butter, add onion, carrot and celery cut  in small pieces and simmer on a low fire
Add the tomato cut into small pieces,and simmer
Add salt to taste. and last, before finishing, add 4 or 5 leaves of basil.

Buon appetito

Maria Grazia'


  1. Oh ruth! This is my ALL TIME FAVORITE. If I go into a resturant and they have gnocchi. I WILL ORDER IT! This looks so so so good. My mouth is watering.

  2. Wow Ruth you make extremely beautiful gnocchi!!

  3. That is an unbelievable opportunity! How cool! Congratulations! I am not jealous ... no, I'm not. Not.

  4. Wow! Congrats on the new job and big move and lovely students and all! Getting homework from Google translator sounds familiar... but I never managed to get such a fab recipe out of my students, so well done you. :D Lots of luck with settling in, and look forward to seeing lots of Italian food here. Nxx

  5. Oh my goodness Ruth, your back!!! I am so excited and I can't believe the incredible move in your life! Italy, oh my goodness, how wonderful. I hope your son is adapting well. What a lovely way to start in with featuring your students recipes. I've never made gnocchi and will certainly use this recipe. Thank you Maria! Can't wait to hear more about your new life in a beautiful country!

    Besitos Amiga!!


  6. What an absolutely gorgeous post! And more to look forward to! Hooray! It is lovely to hear of your adventures and to have access to these wonderful recipes of your students! And what a beautiful, simple, classic to begin with. I have never tried gnocchi but now it is on my list!

  7. Oh Ruth, congratulations on your new assignment. I hope it is what you want. To me it sounds very exciting and wonderful to be in Italy and close to all of that culinary inspiration.

    Thank you for sharing a bit of your new home with us in the form of this recipe. I love flavor me gnocchi in no small way and cannot wait to try this dish. Alas it will be a while as I am desperately trying to use up perishable items before we trek off to Minnesota for Thanksgiving.

    I'm giving thanks right now to you and Maria Grazia for her lovely smile and her wonderful recipe!

  8. That sounds lovely - I must try and make my own Gnocchi one day. How exciting to be working in Italy, I can't wait to see the next recipe : )

  9. Glad to see you back online! Wow, you moved to Italy!!! The gnocchi sound super delicious!

  10. So congrats on your change of life! This must be a very nice experience, the place is not so bad... I love gnocchi, in fact I like them better than pasta.

  11. Wow, what a wonderful experience! I hope you enjoy every moment you spent with the kids. And those gnocchi looks great. I'll be trying it our soon. Cheers.

  12. Welcome back,Ruth!I should take some English classes with you :) My cousin lives in Bologna too. Good luck!

  13. great recipe and how cool to live in italy good for you lol

  14. Hi Ruth ! Those are great news ! And what a coincidence, I was searching for a potato gnocchi recipe. Tell Maria that I will try her recipe.
    We are so fortunate that you are in Italy and will share with us the recipes of your students.
    Grazie for the recipe!

  15. Oh Ruth - congrats to you many times. You are in Modena! I hope it will be fabulous for you and your son. If the experience is anything like your mouth-watering gnochhi - this will be a perfect match!

  16. Ruth, congrats on a fabulous opportunity. I'm truly jealous! This recipe looks fabulous and I look forward to more good eats from your students.

  17. Congrats Ruth, I hope you are very happy there!
    Beautiful gnocchi!

  18. Wow! what a great opportunity you've taken on! I will also say I'm not jealous one bit...nope, not a bit, really...uuumm...
    Gnocchi is one of my all time favourites, say thanks to Maria!!

  19. I absolutely love Gnocci, it always fascinates me as a food and is so versatile depending which sauce it is made with, however I prefer this traditional tomato sauce is perfect loved this recipe keep em coming :) kisses xxx

  20. one of the places that I love is Italy, I would like to visit this place againg, I have been reading about this country since I was young!