GNOC­CHI: IN A WORD, A WORLD

A piece of au­then­tic Ital­ian­ism beats in the heart of trendy Man­hat­tan: Gnoc­cheria by Luzzo’s brings a cor­ner­stone of Ital­ian cui­sine to the East Vil­lage

All About Italy (USA) - - Contents - Martina Morelli

There is no more ar­du­ous mis­sion than to pre­cisely stip­u­late the con­sis­tency of the per­fect dumpling. Not even for housewives with the dex­ter­ity, skills and knowl­edge of gen­er­a­tions. The in­gre­di­ents are, as of­ten hap­pens for those gas­tro­nomic del­i­ca­cies that have be­come a col­lec­tive and shared her­itage, the sim­plest. And, in a sin­gle bite of gnoc­chi, a mil­len­nium of that culi­nary knowl­edge -- that runs along the whole Ital­ian penin­sula and unites the sin­gle and mul­ti­ple re­gional unique­ness-- is brought to­gether. Each home has its own recipe. From boil­ing or bak­ing the pota­toes, rak­ing the gnoc­chi on the back of a grater or with the prongs of a fork, mak­ing them small, medium or large; The dif­fer­ence is more in the rem­i­nis­cences of Sun­day din­ners with the fam­ily, the smell of grand­mother when she em­braces you, the plea­sure of shar­ing at the ta­ble be­fore hav­ing fin­ished the dish. Many people claim their in­ven­tion, but the re­al­ity is that by now, this dish be­longs to the past and to the cul­tural her­itage of ev­ery­one and is able to con­nect even dis­tant cul­tures such as Ital­ian and Amer­i­can. Af­ter all it is from here that the gnoc­chi come from; or rather it is from the Amer­i­cas that the potato, the pri­mary in­gre­di­ent in one of gnoc­chi’s best styles, comes from. Gnoc­chi is a dish that works and has made it, like pizza (New York has made it­self a pizza spokesper­son out­side of Italy) even more univer­sal. Anisa Moloney and Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Michele Iu­liano, her hus­band and busi­ness part­ner, are well aware of this and have dis­cerned the po­ten­tial of this sim­ple and tasty dish. Thus, adding an­other pearl to the Luzzo’s group of restaurant­s and given more people the more op­por­tu­nity to ap­pre­ci­ate and sa­vor a true culi­nary mas­ter­piece. “Gnoc­cheria by Luzzo’s” com­bines tra­di­tion and in­no­va­tion, Italy and the

United States, a sin­gle dish and its in­fi­nite vari­a­tions. Soft yet dense in fla­vor, gnocco is not a pasta but a va­ri­ety of its own that in this un­miss­able stop in the East Vil­lage finds com­plete free­dom to ex­press it­self: from stuffed gnoc­chi to a tri­color dish for two (pesto, four cheeses and Sor­rentina style with tomato sauce), with spinach and pur­ple potato and even a gluten free ver­sion, ev­ery­thing is in­spired by tra­di­tion and home cook­ing. “Ev­ery Sun­day at my mother-in-law’s home, she would make the most amaz­ing home­made gnoc­chi in var­i­ous sauces. It has been a tra­di­tion in Michele’s fam­ily since his child­hood” Anisa proudly says. They both re­al­ized that those sim­ple, home­made dishes would be a great suc­cess in NYC. Hence, the Gnoc­cheria con­cept was born, the first restau­rant spe­cial­iz­ing in gnoc­chi. They found a quaint in­ti­mate lo­ca­tion in Al­pha­bet City and opened the busi­ness with an enor­mous amount of ex­cite­ment, but soon re­al­ized that the lo­ca­tion was a des­ti­na­tion area only. It was a chal­lenge the first 18 months but they be­lieved in their con­cept so in­tensely even when the restau­rant was strug­gling. No one knew Gnoc­cheria ex­isted. “My com­mit­ment to this con­cept has al­ways been pro­found be­cause it’s an ex­cel­lent prod­uct. I was truly con­fi­dent that it would be a suc­cess so I tried to do some­thing to in­crease its pop­u­lar­ity. A sim­ple video in­tro­duc­ing our con­cept of the Gnoc­cheria to the world was posted on Face­book on Septem­ber 21st in 2017. It went vi­ral with a mil­lion views within 24 hours. On Thurs­day night we didn’t have any reser­va­tions. On Fri­day night the line was out the door and re­mark­ably long. We didn’t even have enough food. Gnoc­cheria sud­denly be­came a tremen­dous hotspot and to­day we have cus­tomers com­ing from around the coun­try as well as from all cor­ners of the world.” The se­cret of this suc­cess lies so much in the in­ti­mate and re­laxed at­mos­phere that at­tracts fam­i­lies and cou­ples alike (lovers in search of the ideal place for a ro­man­tic din­ner), as in a recipe that re­spects tra­di­tion: baked pota­toes (not boiled!), Ital­ian flour and olive oil, salt and pep­per. Af­ter all “ev­ery­one loves gnoc­chi!”

Gnoc­cheria by Luzzo’s is the lat­est ven­ture from Anisa Moloney fea­tur­ing the culi­nary cre­ations of her hus­band Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Michele Iu­liano. Gnoc­cheria is sure to be an­other hit within the Luzzo’s col­lec­tion of restaurant­s.

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