Have you seen “Two Greedy Italians”on tv? I saw it on YouTube last year and now I am so happy that it is showing on SBS in Australia. I love the fact there are two old fellows arguing, laughing, cooking and eating their way through Italy. They speak English most of the time (Gennaro Contaldo with a kind of peculiar East London accent) and Italian sometimes. I wanted my mother to watch it as she loves cooking shows and I thought she would enjoy their humour. She watched it this week and today when I went to see her for lunch she said “I met Antonio the older one about ten years ago”. I almost fell off my chair – she had met one greedy italian! She had never told me about this before. I asked her to tell me the story…
She says she was walking down the street in Melbourne at a World’s Longest Lunch event with my father. Antonio Carluccio was walking past and stopped when he heard them speaking Italian. So they stopped to talk to the white haired chef. He introduced himself and they had a bit of a chat about being Italian in Australia and cooking. He struck my mother as quite the gentleman. She had never heard of him before that and…. now here he was on her tv screen.
On the first episode of the series, Gennaro had made some beautiful ricotta dumplings that his mother used to make. They were a bit like potato gnocchi but a whole lot simpler. Mamma had never seen them made quite like that and was keen to try them. So in honor of my mother’s brush with Italo-English cooking fame and one greedy Italian, I made the ricotta gnocchi (or dumplings).I can’t resist anything with ricotta in it – fresh, creamy ricotta that you buy from a delicatessen where they have just cut a fresh piece. It melts in your mouth. On the show, Gennaro mixes the ingredients by hand – ricotta, egg yolks and then finally adds the flour. I love the fact that they are almost like potato gnocchi – but without needing to cook potatoes. All you need to do is get the ricotta out of the fridge. I varied the ratio of flour to ricotta (more ricotta, less flour) and made a softer version. I served the gnocchi with a tomato and basil sauce, with lots of garlic and a hint of chilli. Fantastic (and oh so easy).
3 egg yolks
Mix the first 4 ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon (or your hands). Add the flour and fold it into the mixture until a dough forms. Roll into a log, cut off sections and cut into bite size pieces.
Boil a large pot of water. Add the gnocchi to the boiling water. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes (taste them to make sure you are happy with the consistency when they are cooked; cook a bit longer if they are too chewy). Remove with a slotted spoon. Serve with your favourite pasta sauce and sprinkle lots of parmigiano.
* recipe from Gennaro Contaldo