We loved meeting Selvina Bertuzzi, who lives just outside Cremona. She had amazing stories about how she was a mondina, a rice worker, and having to work barefoot in the paddy fields which terrified her because of the snakes. Women lived in a dormitory above the rice barn and there were no lavatory facilities and huge rats. Conditions were so grim she refused to go back to work there after two seasons, and she still has nightmares about that time.
These tales were recounted while she made gnocchi for us, with a simple sausage sauce. Selvina uses top quality sausages, of course, but the secret ingredient which makes it extra special is the addition of butter at the end.