I have a list of fears I am trying to come to terms with.
I hate phone calls from and to strangers: I hate calling my GP clinic, I hate calling to book a table at a restaurant, I hate calling to set a meeting. I hate doing them and receiving them, and I much rather send an email and communicate facts in a written form. It seems somehow more controllable and less stressful. It gives me the impression of grasping the message better and having less room for misunderstanding and mistake.
Answering the door makes me anxious. I never feel appropriately put together for the task. Rightly so.
Going back into a grocery store to say that they charged me full price for something which was on special is another hated situation. It makes me feel cheap, although I am right. If I am with J, I beg him to do it in my place. He’s good at saying no and making me do it. I would just walk away if I were by myself.
I hate calling waiters’ attention. I much rather have them coming to my table. Waiving my arms in the air to grab their glance makes me feel idiot, and the fact that I am a small person doesn’t help. Once again, I look for J’s support to do it. My attempts are rarely successful.
Saying no to people is a huge problem for me. I have always been that kind of person who tried to please everybody and be liked by everybody, which is per se a sizable source of stress, much more than having the gut to say no. If I really feel like “no” is the right answer, I try to give convincing excuses not to hurt people’s feelings, only to feel guilty a minute after.
And then, I hate scales, changing rooms, and bright artificial lights.
I have never thought to be a shy person. In fact, I have always felt fairly self-confident, but these traits revealing nothing but weakness in my personality are way too many to keep ignoring the issue. The problem is I yet have to find a strategy to overcome these fears. Maybe meditation would help. Maybe I just have to stop caring for everybody’s feelings and opinions and consider mine first. Any suggestions?
Gnudi. They have always sounded terribly appealing and intimidating at the same time. What if I made them wrong and they disintegrated in the boiling water as soon as I dropped them in? What if they came out tough or too doughy? But then, it happened that I bought a huge bag of fresh spinach on special, and that the organic ricotta in the fridge had one day before expiring (this is how my meals come together most of the time, far from any romanticism). Gnudi came to mind: it had to be then or never. I made them, and they were good.
- 600 gr fresh spinach, washed
- 200 gr fresh ricotta
- 1 egg
- 50 gr aged pecorino, grated
- 60 gr whole spelt flour
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp quality salted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- 5-6 sage leaves
- plenty of grated aged pecorino (romano is cool)
Start by placing the spinach into a large sauce pan over low heat. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a colander and drain all the liquid. Press the spinach with your hands or a wooded spoon to drain out as much liquid as possible. Set aside and let cool. Once cold, chop them up finely. Put them back to the colander and press out any remaining liquid.
In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together ricotta, egg and pecorino, until smooth. Add the flour, season with 1 tsp salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Add the chopped spinach and stir to combine. Dust a working surface and your hands with plenty of flour. Using two spoons, shape bits of dough into balls and roll them into the flour. Repeat until you run out of dough.
Once the water is boiling, drop in three-four balls of dough at a time. Boil for 2 minutes from when they come to the surface. Drain with a skimmer and set aside.
While you’re boiling the dumplings, place a large skillet on medium-high heat. Melt the butter and add the sage. Once hot, add the gnudi, half at a time, and cook on each side for a few minutes, until browned and crispy.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a round baking pan with some butter. Arrange the gnudi, cover with some pecorino cheese and any leftover butter+sage from the frying pan. Once the oven is hot, put the gnudi in and bake for 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
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