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X Italian Pasta Dishes
Gnocchi of Potato (with flour, water, served with gravy)
Originated from: Italy
Occasion: Any time
Contributed by: Taken from "Simple Italian Cookery," by Antonia Isola (Harper and Brothers, 1912)

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Six medium-sized potatoes
Water for cooking potatoes and gnocchi
One cup of flour
Grated cheese


"Take six medium-sized potatoes and put them on to boil in their skins. When they are done, peel them and pass them through a fine colander. Add a little salt.

Take one cup of flour, and mix on the breadboard with the potatoes until they form a paste.

Roll this paste with the hands into a sausage about the thickness of three fingers. Cut this roll across into pieces about an inch long. Press these pieces lightly with the finger or the handle of the knife, so they will take little cup-shaped forms.

Leave these to one side, and put two quarts of salted water on to boil. When it boils add the gnocchi a few at a time, until all are in the water. When the gnocchi rise to the surface of the water, take them out with the skimmer.

Put them into a platter a few at a time, adding each time gravy and cheese, and covering them well. Put a layer of grated cheese sprinkled on top. Serve with meat, or as a first course."


This recipe was taken from "Simple Italian Cookery" written by Antonia Isola (pen name for Mabel Earl McGinnis) and published in English in the United States by Harper and Brothers in 1912. It is believed to be the first American cookbook that contains Italian recipes. For the complete copyright-free cookbook see www.archive.org...... P.S. I tried out this recipe and was unable to bring myself to eat it. Combining gnocchi with gravy is un-Italian (to my mind), and definitely unappetizing.That said, it's very possible that back when this book was published the word, "gravy," did not necessarily refer to meat drippings with sauce. In other cookbooks published around this time (e.g. Gentile's "The Italian Cook Book" the word, "gravy," was also used to describe a thick tomato sauce........ Photo and notes: Mary Melfi.

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