Over the weekend, my husband and I attempted to make gnocchi, potato pasta, by hand. Now, I have made gnocchi many, many times with much success. I use Lidia Bastianich’s recipe, and it usually takes an entire morning to do it right. I spend much time focusing on it, making sure the potatoes are boiled just right and that I don’t over knead the dough. It’s a delicate dance. If you work with the dough too long, then you will have heavy gnocchi. If you work the dough too little and therefore add less flour, you will have mushy gnocchi. Or, in the case of my mom, who attempted gnocchi just once, you will have no gnocchi at all. Hers disintegrated when she put them in the pot of boiling water, so we had potato water.
My husband and I decided that we wanted to go to church on Sunday morning, which meant having to make the gnocchi the night before. I had never done this before. We would have to do freeze the gnocchi. And, because we were making them at night, we’d have to work as quickly as possible because of our son’s bedtime and sleeping patterns. I should mention that I’m terrible at night, especially now that I have an infant. We didn’t take the necessary time or have the necessary patience to get the gnocchi just right. Our attempt at freezing the gnocchi was a failure, too. On Sunday, when my parents arrived for their Valentine’s Day lunch, we basically served them potato goo with sauce on it. It was a big disappointment. The lesson I learned is that you can not take shortcuts. I needed to stay home on Sunday morning and spend the entire time focused on the gnocchi. They would have turned out much better, and we would have enjoyed a more satisfying meal. That’s true for just about anything. Everything will turn out better if you pay attention, focus, and take the necessary time to do it. There are no shortcuts in life. Period.