The inspiration for this meal came while watching an episode of Jamie Oliver's show "Jamie's Great Italian Escape" a few days ago. He was discussing the very local nature of food in Italy, and how different parts of the country have such differing opinions about how to make certain things. While watching a group of women teach him how to make orechietti, my daughter and I decided that that would be a fun thing to do for Sunday's dinner. However, a quick stop at the nearby Italian market the next day prompted a request for gnocchi (pronounced NYOH-key) by my son, so we decided to make those instead.
We boiled four large potatoes until they were soft (unpeeled), sliced them in half crosswise, and then put them through a ricer while they were still hot to make them nice and fluffy (putting them in cut-side down made it possible to remove the skins at the same time, just picking the skins out before running the next potato through).
A couple big pinches of salt, a few cranks of pepper, and an egg were quickly stirred in before the egg could cook into a solid lump, and then we added about a cup of flour to make a stiff dough. More flour was incorporated as the dough was kneaded on the counter for a couple of minutes.
The dough was divided into fist-sized balls and rolled into 1 - 1 1/2 inch thick ropes, and then cut into 1 inch wide pieces.
The kids helped me roll each piece up the back of a fork to make a pocket on one side and grooves on the other (to hold the sauce).
I made a simple tomato sauce with canned tomatoes that my mother had left over from last year's crop, stirring in a cube of frozen pesto because the basil in the garden is still too tiny to harvest.
A thick sprinkling of BC parmesan cheese finished everything off and I barely had time to snap this photo before the gnocchi were all gobbled up.
Getting caught up in the spirit of the challenge, my mom made a batch of strawberry/raspberry ice cream, using local cream, raspberries from her garden, and strawberries from a nearby farm (we went and picked another 20 or so pounds each last week).
The only things that weren't local in this meal were the olive oil, salt, and pepper. It only occurred to me after that fact that I could have used local butter to saute the garlic for the sauce (learning as I go) . The sugar for the ice cream came from a local refinery, but I doubt that the cane/sugar beets were locally sourced.
Now I'm off to see what the rest of you made this week!