Sunday, September 25, 2011

Historic gnocchi at Festa Italiana

Two strands to this story. One is current, Rossella Rago's "Cooking With Nonna" website and TV show. The other is historic, involving Sicily and Garibaldi.

Garibaldi is a hero in Italy, the military commander who, in 1861, "unified" the 20 regions of Italy and helped create the modern state. He's especially beloved in Sicily, for it was a single victory at the western port city of Marsala that made his reputation.

The strands came together this afternoon, when Enza Sorrentino, a native of Marsala, took the stage at the annual Festa Italiana at Seattle Center and prepared red, white and green gnocchi, the colors of the Italian flag.

Her restaurant on Queen Anne, Enza Cucina Siciliana, had come to the attention of Rossella, whose real mother and grandmother had helped her win an episode of the Food Network's "24 Hour Restaurant Battle" earlier this year. So Rossella made Enza, who has five grandchildren of her own, her honorary nonna of the day.

So there we have it: potato gnocchi rolled out, flavored and cooked in the space of half an hour.

The most remarkable thing may be that Rossella is only 23. She has poise and wit, charm and an unflappable stage presence, and, even more appealing, a profound respect for the wisdom of grandmothers everywhere. We're going to see a lot more of her.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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