Well, I had another birthday. And because I am luckiest kid on the planet with a plethora of excellent humans in my life, it turned into a whole week of celebrations. At one point I was made to do 37 laps of my friend’s house, one for each year, and announce to the guests where I was and what I was doing for each year of my life. It was crazy, but this exercise of self reflection really highlighted just how intense the last couple of years have been for me. In particular, 36. It was full of extremes – the highest highs and in contrast the lowest of all lows. I got a publishing deal and finished a book, I bought a skateboard and learnt how to fill my days doing something that makes me very smiley. I changed my career, which also changed how I felt about everyday life. Unfortunately however, my dad passed away. It was the complete undoing of my very being, but in turn forced me to face a heap of shit. Shit that I didn’t realise had wrapped itself around the foundations of my character. I said goodbye to it for good.
Whilst my dad’s death is still the most difficult thing I have ever experienced, I could never have imagined that something positive could come from something so painful. Sounds like a stupid and tired cliche but I guess cliches are a thing for a reason, they are common. Through all this turbulence and elation I also met many wonderful people. I forged new friendships and strengthened existing bonds with my family and close friends. One of said new lovely friends came over to my house for dinner, and I made ricotta gnocchi (gnudi). It is my go-to dish when I am trying to impress somebody.
Serves 4 – 6
- 1kg fresh ricotta (not the pre packaged one it’s too wet)
- 220 g plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for rolling
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
- 1 tsp salt
- Your favourite sauce – I used a simple tomato basil one
- extra parmesan
- Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix gently with your hands until properly combined. Divide the dough into 8 portions, then lightly flour your hands and your work surface (the less flour, the better!).
- Roll each portion into a sausage, about 1½–2 cm thick, and line them up together.
- Cut the sausages into 2 cm (¾ in) rounds with a nice sharp knife. Set aside.
Put a large pot of water on the stovetop and bring to the boil. To cook the gnocchi, drop the little pillows into the boiling water. When they are ready they will float to the surface – this will only take a minute, or even less. Remove with a slotted spoon once they are ready and set aside.
Toss the gnocchi through your favourite sauce. As mentioned above I made a simple tomato + basil sauce but pesto is also really good. Remember, simple is best!
- Sprinkle on some extra parmesan and serve.