Tag Archives: Italy

Gnocchi alla Ciociaria

Does your mind go blank as to what to prepare for dinner? Don’t worry here is something for you to drool over!

You will need: pancetta, porcini, garlic, onion, celery, carrots, parsley and sausage.

1. Heat the olive oil over a high heat until almost smoking. Then add the pancetta, porcini, garlic, onion, celery, carrots, parsley and sausage.

2. Cook over a high heat until the sausage is a little browned and the vegetables are tender.

3. Add half a glass of red wine. When it has evaporated, put the tomatoes and the pepper in the pan. Mix it all together and simmer over a low heat for about 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi in a large pan of boiling salted water, for about 2-3 minutes, until they rise to the surface.

5. Let them fry in a pan with butter (see photo above).

6. Once the sauce is nice and thick, put the gnocchi in a plate and cover with the sauce.

7. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve.


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Filed under Dinner, Gnocchi, Quick & easy cooking, Recipes

A day in Rome

People say that no other city can compare to Rome’s legacy. It may no longer be referred to as the caput mundi (capital of the world), but it is an extraordinary visual testimony of the long gone Roman Empire.

During my stay, I was constantly looking out for the remains of the antique era. I was never disappointed, they are everywhere and mostly integrated to the contemporary architecture. In 5 days, I was hooked.

Rome has an impressive range of beautiful monuments such as the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Forum, the Farnese Palace, St Peter (although technically part of the Vatican). I could go on and on, but it is true Rome is not only about sightseeing. To make the most of one’s trip, enjoying the different aspects of the city is a must, Gastronomy clearly being a huge part.

Running around the streets of Rome, you may don’t know where to go in between your visits to rest and indulge yourself.

Here are a few suggestions for a day out:

Lunch – Pizza Forum, 34 Via S. Giovanni in Laterano.

Although the place’s design is not its best advocate, the food is really good and price-friendly. Perfect for a little lunch after visiting the Forum, Colloseum and Constantin’s arch (which are basically located right off the restaurant’s street.) This is where I tasted amazing Gnocchi al pomodoro.

Coffee and shopping – Fleur, 46 Via Bocca di Leone.

This little cafe boutique is located just 2 minutes from the magnificent Piazza di Spagna. It is definitely worth sitting down and have a delightful Italian coffee. They come with local treats and the place looks gorgeous!

Dinner – Blanco, 21 Via della Croce.

The very trendy and all white bar/restaurant is excellent, and serves amazing cocktails. This is where I tasted the gnochetti with Gorgonzola and asparagus. Its location is very convenient, since it is minutes away from the beautiful piazza del Popolo, and the  nice places to go out.

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Filed under Italy, Restaurant Reviews

Gnochetti with asparagus & gorgonzola sauce

In Rome all mighty, the picturesque scenery is a delight for the eyes.

However, walking around in a timeless city such as this one  comes with its pains and blisters. When that comes up, it is time to stop and have a bite.

Between la Piazza del Popolo and la Piazza di Spagna, you’ll find:

– A classy Italian ambiance, which will make you relive Audrey Hepburn’s “Roman Holiday”.

–  Nice restaurants and coffee shops. (See next posts for addresses and directions!)

These two facts make it the perfect place to chill. That is exactly what we did, and that is where I come across the most amazing/ surprising dish ever.

I got the recipe: Here it is!

– Gnochetti with asparagus and gorgonzola cheese –

1. Cook the gnocchi in a large pan of boiling salted water, for about 2-3 minutes, until they rise to the surface.

2. Put the onions, parsley and garlic in a frying pan with the olive oil.   After about 5 minutes, the onions should be tender and ready.  Reduce heat to medium.

3. Add the gnocchi to the onions in the frying pan . After a minute or so, put the gorgonzola and asparagus. Leave it to cook for 3 minutes and toss gently.

3. Add a little salt and pepper. When you are done, the sauce should be nice and thick, and the gnocchi well coated.

4. Put the cooked gnocchi in a dish. Tadaah, it’s ready!

Tip: You can add a little  grated Parmesan cheese on top. As I said before, it makes all the effort even more worth it.

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Filed under Gnocchi, Quick & easy cooking, Recipes, Sauces

Gnocchi Al Pomodoro

At Lawson Dodd, we love Italy and we love Gnocchi. I just came back from an Easter trip in Rome and I utterly enjoyed the food. I brought back some recipes straight from la mamma Italia to share with you.

Gnocchi al Pomodoro is the simplest thing ever. The sauce is easy to make and  tastes great. What else?

For the Pomodoro sauce, you need:  Passata (tomato puree), onions, olive oil, basil, salt & pepper.

1. Put the onions in a frying pan with the olive oil. After about 5 minutes, add the passata and basil leaves. It already starts smelling heavenly good. Add a little salt and pepper, and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes. When you are done, the sauce should be nice and thick.

2. Slice little bits of mozzarella cheese, it will come in handy at the very end.

2. Cook the gnocchi in a large pan of boiling salted water, for about 2-3 minutes, until they rise to the surface.

3. Put the cooked gnocchi in a dish and cover it with the tomato sauce. Add the mozzarella cheese and serve straight away. A dish is always best when hot!

Tip: You can add a little  grated Parmesan cheese on top. Makes all the effort even more worth it.

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Filed under Gnocchi, History, Italy, Quick & easy cooking, Recipes, Sauces

Italian delights

After a gnocchi delight, ending the meal with a tiny cup of coffee adds just the right touch. However, in terms of skills  an Englishman is not well known for his  coffee making.  No wonder shops, such as Starbucks, Nero and Costa, are spreading like mad in this country.

I am always very loyal to my black Americano. Though I do take it with a dash of milk in the morning, I don’t really enjoy it any other way. On the other hand, everyone else seems very excited to have it with caramel, chocolate, cream, ice and even fruit. Indeed, every time I step into a coffee shop, it seems that a new variety has made its entrance in the fabulous and luscious world of “coffee drinks”.

Going back to the genuine way of enjoying one’s coffee, are we all queuing up unknowingly toward putting an end to what coffee culture really is? In Italy, there are know how’s and don’ts:

  • One of them is that milky drinks such as Macchiattos, Lattes and Cappuccinos should always be had in the morning, never after lunch.
  • One should always sit up when having his cup of brownish delight. That said it makes me think that le café francais and its pleasurable terraces must make many Italian’s frown.
  • One should never ask for an espresso. If you do so in Italy, apart from your accent, everyone will know you are a tourist. Espresso means “coffee dose” so ask for a caffee instead.

Hum, hum what to make of this?

Let’s say we are in England and the world is moving on to improve and disapprove. Freedom of choice means having our coffee the way we like. Indeed, that’s what it is.

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Filed under Gnocchi, Italy, Tradition, UK

What is Gnocchi Night?

On the 29th of every month, Argentines eat ñoquis (gnocchis, as we would say). For the uninitiated, gnocchi is a potato-based pasta. It is pronounced nyoki. Like a lot of Argentine dishes, this flavourful dish has Italian roots. Many Italians worked on coffee plantations in Argentina during the 19th century and they left a permanent impression on the culture’s cuisine.

Why gnocchi? Why the 29th? Gnocchi is cheaply made and belly filling, a combination appreciated by the working poor on the night before payday. The story goes that a poor family welcomed a hungry man into their home and shared their gnocchi supper. To reward the family’s generous spirit, the man, who was a saint in disguise, left a gold coin under his plate. Hard financial times in Argentina after World War II may have helped the tradition to grow and now Gnocchi Night is practically sacred.

The tradition comes with hopes of attracting prosperity and involves putting money under your plate during your meal. Donate that money (it has to be that money, now warmed by the plate) to charity after the meal, and it will bring you good fortune.

It’s a refreshing celebration of the good value meal. I love the tradition of sharing what little you have and, with that sharing, nurturing hope for good fortune. Clearly the Argentine populace is infused with good spirits and good humour: government workers that are scarce except for when paychecks arrive at month’s end have been nicknamed ñoquis too!

Gnocchi can be made from scratch, of course, and we will be sharing our step-by-step guide so that you can take part in this tradition. The goal (and the challenge) of good gnocchi is that it should be light and fluffy while also dense enough to have flavour, but not so dense that they are chewy or gummy. Once you get started you can explore a whole host of amazing recipes, sweet and savoury, for this delightful tradition. We’ll be sharing our favourites and we welcome you to share yours!

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Filed under Gnocchi, Lawson Dodd, Tradition