"It's not really very traditional, it's not very Italian," says Bartolo Calderone as he has just been handed a packet of Lustucru gnocchi to pan. This Sicilian chef is the head of the Capperi pizzeria and the School of Pizza and Natural Breadmaking, both in Bordeaux. "Pasta is in my genes," he says.
In order to know what a "real" gnocchi is (in the singular we should already say "gnoccho"), it is enough to refer to the bible of Italian cuisine: "The science in cooking and the art of eating well", by Pellegrino Artusi, a directory of recipes collected in 1891 and available online on Wikisource. "There is obviously the recipe for gnocchi!"
The chef follows the instructions: he steames 400 g of potatoes, peels them, purees them and adds 150 g of wheat flour. "That's it!", price of ingredients: €1.58 per kilo against €5.58 per kilo of Lustucru gnocchi. Bartolo Calderone kneads everything to obtain a homogeneous dough, rolling it into long puddings that he cuts into pieces 3 cm long. Then he prints stripes on the pasta by rolling each section against the teeth of a fork. He cooks these gnocchi in a large volume of salted water and sets them on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil.
In the next plate, he pours the contents of the Lustucru packet: "It's not pretty," he observes. Neither the color, nor the texture." Following the instructions on the package, he browns them in a frying pan. What if we want to brown homemade gnocchi to make them crispier? "It's forbidden," says the expert, "or at least to warm the leftover gnocchi from the day before," says the purist.
Reluctantly, he is performing a demonstration for us. A few minutes in the pan and here are two plates of pan-fried gnocchi, some industrial and some homemade. "If you have time, it's much better to make them at home," he concludes. But if you don't have time, are the industrial versions interesting?
We compared four references from the supermarket with an agricultural engineer and dietician, Constance Régnier (@aunomdugout on Instagram), then organized a blind tasting of these products with Fabrizio Ferrara, also a Sicilian chef, at the head of the Osteria Ferrera in Paris.