It's been a long time since my last post. This post is to pay homage to my mother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. My family and I have been so distraught by her diagnosis. Realistically speaking, while trying to help my mother as primary caregiver and caring for my youngest son who I have mentioned in the past has health challenges of his own, the last thing on my mind was updating my blog.
Alzheimer's is a devastating disease on both the person who is diagnosed as well the families and caregivers. The experts say that emotionally with this disease you grieve twice, but I have found that you can grieve regularly and when you least expect it. To all of you who have ever participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer's, I thank you.
This time of year brings back memories of my mom's garden tomatoes. She would have an abundant supply and needed to come up with creative ideas to use them up. Yesterday when I was harvesting tomatoes, inhaling the wonderfully fragrant tomato plant, I waxed nostalgic thinking of her. The aroma in the air also reminded me of her daddy (my grandfather Papa) who first introduced me to the smell of tomato plants and fresh basil in his garden on his farm.
As I grew up and had my own children, they would spend time with my mother, enjoying her home cooked Italian meals. One of their favorites was gnocchi. Mom taught my oldest son how to roll the little pieces of pasta dough off the back of a fork until each little piece had grooves to give them a good texture and to hold onto tomato sauce. He was very dedicated to help out his grandma because rolling out gnocchi is very time consuming.
When making up a batch of gnocchi, mom would add a little of this and a little of that and it would always turn out perfect. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a written version of her recipe, so I thought I'd share the delicious gnocchi recipe I tried out from Shelbi at Allrecipes.com.
I didn't have any garlic powder, so I omitted it. I also didn't have all-purpose flour in my pantry so I had to substitute it with bread flour. It needed more like 2 1/2 to 3 cups of flour instead of the 2 cups mentioned in the recipe, perhaps because I used Trader Joe's ricotta which is more creamy and smooth than the regular grocery store brand. Helpful hint--don't forget to drain the ricotta. I feel it is key. It makes for a very light and fluffy gnocchi.
Serve them with tomato sauce or perhaps try something a little different, like a brown butter sauce. I made a simple one using Kerrygold butter and grated Locatelli Romano cheese. You could even swap out traditional fresh sage leaves with fresh basil leaves.