Gnocchi… Gnocki… Ggnochi… Nyohkkee…
Do you know that feeling when you want to order something in a restaurant, but you’re not sure how to pronounce what you want to eat? So you just give the waiter a few different options of articulation, hoping that the right one will be amongst those, meanwhile giving him your best apologetic smile because you feel kind of stupid for not knowing how to order without making an idiot of yourself.
Or am I really the only one who does this?
Well, there’s one thing I’m sure of, and that is that the correct pronunciation of gnocchi is giving all non-Italians a headache. The worst cases are those, where you know how the Italians (or French or Thai or…) pronounce something, but the common perception is different. Like when you order bruschetta in the Netherlands, we believe this is pronounced as ‘brusjetta’, whereas the Italians say ‘brusketta’. Try asking for ‘brusketta’ over here and you’ll find your waiter confirming you’ll have ‘brusjetta’, as a polite way of both checking if he got the order right while meanwhile “correcting” your articulation.
The same happens in France, where you’ll need to ask for a cheesecake (as if it were to rhyme with ‘back’) if you want to have that cheesecake for dessert. I once had a funny conversation at my neighbourhood bakery in Paris, where they have a sign that says they sell cookies. And yes, I was up for a good cookie! So I asked what kind of cookies they sold, and the sales woman gave me a strange look and just said ‘les cookies’!
Turns out that the word ‘cookie’ is solely used for chocolate chip cookies, all the rest just goes by the French gâteau.
Oh, and while we’re at it, for those who are wondering, the right way to say Gouda, is ‘howdah’, and if you can, add our charming Dutch guttural G at the beginning. Which apparently makes us sound like we’re throwing up, so I fully understand if you skip it and just stick to ‘howdah’.
I’ve learned now that gnocchi, is pronounced as nyohkkee. But that doesn’t really matter (maybe unless you’re ordering in Italy). All that’s important is that you’re enjoying your food!
- 600 gr (21 oz) entire potatoes (NOT peeled! If water soaks the potato you'll get very heavy gnocchi)
- 1 big egg yolk
- 60 gr (5/8 cup) flour
- 150 gr (1 cup) fresh peas
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan
- Butter, to bake in
- Salt & pepper
- Bring a big pan of water to a boil
- Add the potatoes and boil until tender and ready to puree (but don't wait until they're falling apart)
- Drain the potatoes and let cool off a bit before peeling off the skin
- Purée the potatoes while still warm
- Leave to cool
- After the purée has cooled down, add the yolk and the flour
- Season with salt
- Form a dough, try to do this quickly, don't overwork the dough
- Dust your workspace with flour and form long 'sausages' of the dough
- Use a sharp knife to cut them in pieces of about 2 cm (1 inch)
- Bring a bg pan of water to a boil, add some salt and cook small portions of the gnocchi
- Once they come up to the surface, they're done (Such a cool moment!)
- Take them out and keep them in a bowl
- Heat a bit of butter in a pan and bake small portions of gnocchi until brown
- Finally, add the fresh peas and bake them for 2 minutes
- Season with salt & pepper
- Top with lemon zest and parmesan cheese