If there's one thing I thought would be easier to get used to while living here, it would be the lack of conversation. In two months, I have only spoken to my husband of course, and my family a few times via Skype. Everything else is patchy Italian for survival. While I'm definitely not lacking for things to do, it's tough to rid yourself of the feeling that life is going on without you back at home, and this place although it is beautiful- it does not feel like home. Tourist activities are fun solo for a while, then it sort of feels a bit sad. It wasn't until 3 days ago that I met the girlfriend of one of Michael's co-workers, and it was such a HUGE blessing to have people to eat dinner with on a Saturday night. They also happen to own an incredibly restored, traditional Venetian sailboat and they invited us to spend the day sailing with them. Michael even got to sail in a regatta on Sunday while I was able to watch the race with my new friend, Laura. She led me to believe that she didn't speak much or any English, so I was a little nervous about spending the entire day together without being able to speak to each other. She tricked me. It didn't take long and she must have gotten comfortable with her English, because we chatted for hours. I was finally able to ask all the random questions that have been piling up in my curiosity. It was spectacular.
Adjusting to life in Italy has been quite an experience. There have been great highs, and some low lows. Life would be boring if it were easy though, so we are making the most of it with the time we have here. Thus far, our adventures have been within the borders of Italy, but as you all are reading this post, I will be strolling through fair Paris with my dear husband and our friends from Belgium who we met a few years ago while taking a cruise to Alaska. I. Can't. Wait. Two weekends in a row with another couple to adventure with. Somebody pinch me, because life here just got WAY better.
Now, for the gnocchi. I have made gnocchi several times at home before, without a tremendous amount of success. If you have ever made gnocchi before, you probably know it can be a bit precarious to get the texture right. Too much flour makes for a tough, gummy dumpling and that's not delicious at all. The last few times I have had increasing success, and I seem to have gotten the hang of it. While they're not the loveliest gnocchi ever, they taste wonderful, and that's what really matters. I can only speak from my experiences, and I am by no means an expert. I have however, eaten good gnocchi and bad gnocchi in restaurants, and this recipe and method for Homemade Gnocchi with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce results in some very good gnocchi.
If you're not interested in taking on the project of making your own gnocchi just yet, then by all means, feel free to substitute the homemade gnocchi with the highest quality store-bought version you can find and whip up this delicious Gorgonzola sauce. It comes together incredibly quickly, so dinner will be on the table in no time.
When making homemade gnocchi, the main thing to keep in mind is to try not to add more flour than absolutely necessary. The goal is for the gnocchi to be light and delicate and to taste like potato. Not only will too much flour make your gnocchi dense and tough, but it will also mask the flavor of the potatoes. I found that my best results were when I baked the potatoes instead of boiling them. This allowed the potatoes to be a bit less moist, which required less flour to be added to the gnocchi dough. Starchy potatoes tend to work better than waxy potatoes also. If you don't have a little wooden gnocchi board like mine, don't worry: A fork can be used instead, or you can easily pick up a gnocchi board for just a few dollars. I see them all the time at Home Goods and TJMaxx. I definitely prefer using my gnocchi board over a fork though, for some reason I am able to shape the gnocchi much more quickly using my board. Either will do though.