How many social media accounts do you have? One? Two? Eight? I’m a card-carrying member of Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Each of these places on the Internet give me an opportunity to ‘connect’ with people beyond all of the connecting that we do via email, blogging, and commenting on various websites. We are constantly connecting. It’s like, the connection never actually stops.
Day to day, I move from one device to another, all the while, being constantly connected to something or someone. I might as well have a power cord attached to my body. There’s a familiar jolly ding whenever someone @ replies me on Twitter, or a new email comes through. A slew of people whom I’d otherwise know nothing about are suddenly completely familiar to me; I know their tastes in food and music, I see their baby pictures, I know their birthdays and favorite books, when they’ve changed jobs or gotten engaged. I even know when they’re out of town or having dinner with a colleague. The other day I was thinking how all of this connectedness has, of late, made me feel only more disconnected. Catch 22? Have you been feeling this way?
Being uber-connected can make things feel really cursory. As though scanning someone’s Facebook page is an adequate way to catch up. In this weird way, knowing everything about someone or something isn’t actually the best way to KNOW them. You with me still?
Anyway, I know we’re all busy out there, with our jobs and families and kids, and a real connection — the kind that happens when you’re gabbing over a glass of wine and you have an opportunity to actually make eye contact with someone — is a rare thing. I was thinking today I’d share a recipe that you can share with someone else in about 15 minutes. You might think that’s crazy since we’re talking about homemade gnocchi, but it’s actually ridiculously easy, fast and requires little other than a bowl, a cutting board, and a big pot. I don’t want you to spend that extra 45 minutes you could be cooking dinner ‘connecting’ but, rather, getting to know someone (even if that someone is a person you know through the Internet) face to face. Put your phone on vibrate. Or better yet, turn it off.
Black Pepper and Parmesan Ricotta Gnocchi
inspired by this recipe
2 cups of whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup of finely grated Parmesan, plus more to serve
2 teaspoons of freshly grated black pepper, plus more to serve
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup of all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for rolling the gnocchi
1/2 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of butter
1. Combine all of the ingredients, except the butter, in a medium bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. You should have a very think, soft and somewhat sticky dough.
2. Generously flour a large cutting board. Dust your dough with a bit of flour and break off about a third of it with your hands. Roll the dough into a 1 inch thick log, adding more flour, as needed, to keep it from sticking.
3. Use a bench scraper or a sharp knife to cut the log into 1 inch thick pieces and place them on a lined baking sheet. Repeat until you have used up the rest of the dough.
4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi: drop the gnocchi into the water in batches, cooking until they float to the top (about 3 minutes). Gently stir the water with a wooden spoon to nudge any gnocchi that stick to the bottom to float to the top. Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large cast iron skillet.
5. As the gnocchi finish cooking, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and add them to the skillet to brown them, tossing occassionally and adjusting the heat to ensure that you don’t burn them. Ideally, you’ll want to let the pieces crisp up on one side before turning them over.
6. Serve the gnocchi with additional Parmesan cheese and freshly grated black pepper.
Musical Pairings: Elliott Smith – Figure 8 + Black Pepper and Parmesan Ricotta Gnocchi
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