“D” my photography associate and I were on assignment in Italy when we discovered the definitive Gnocchi recipe. We ate at the Trattoria Cavalino Bianco (The White Horse) in Novara. Their specialty is Gnocchi alla Radetzky. It was so delicious we returned the next night and ordered it again. I asked the woman who owned the restaurant about the recipe. She went to the front of the restaurant and returned with a framed newspaper story from twenty five years ago. It showed a man with a young girl at his side in a restaurant. She explained that the man was her papa and she the young girl. She shared that her family had been making the Gnocchi alla Radetzky for four generations. She insisted that the critical ingredient was Grana Padano cheese. She also pointed out that the Gnocchi balls were small and made with a light amount of flour.
When I returned to the U.S. I set about trying to replicate these light Gnocchi with the bright sauce and rich buttery broiled topping. I went to the definitive Italian cookbook, Italian Cuisine by Tony May (ISBN 0-312-30280-0, third edition). I made slight adjustments, making sure to use Grana Padano, keeping the balls small and going very light on the flour, just enough to shape the balls.
Trattoria Cavallino Bianco, Vicolo dell’ Arco, 2/a – Novara, Italy. Tel. 0321 393908
Tony May’s restaurant in New York City, SD26, Madison Square Park, 19 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010. Tel. 212-265-5959