Gnocchi are a traditional Italian dumplings – shaped into small ovals with a ridged pattern on one side.
As any traditional Italian recipe, there’re many different versions of them.
Usually gnocchi are made from potato, flour and egg, but many Italian Regions have different kind of gnocchi, usually made with different vegetables. With the exception of Sardinian gnocchi that have no veggies on them, but are called gnocchi due to their shape.
Northern Italian Regions offer a variety of gnocchi, done with pumpkin instead of potato, or chestnuts, or spinach.
In Lazio, you’ll fine the so called “Gnocchi alla romana” made with semolina and milk.
More modern versions include eggplant gnocchi and zucchini gnocchi…
Often enough you can find colored gnocchi: they are all made with potatoes, but colored with a small quantity of bright vegetables from Swiss-chard to saffron. Using the same mixture and coloring in 2-3 different colors is a good way to dash the recipe, but still have only one dough to prepare and same cooking time for any variation.
The quickest way to give a twist to the traditional potato recipe is mixing your favorite herbs directly in the mixture.
If preparing potato gnocchi, you’d better use yellow floury potatoes. If using pumpkin you’d previously bake the pumpkin flash to get rid to the water in excess… and if you use spinach squeeze out all the water, before adding the other ingredient.
But, as we know that vegetables (even potatoes) can be more or less watery and more or less suitable to prepare gnocchi, keep in mind that flour doses can be approximate in any gnocchi recipe.
The mixture has to be firm but yielding, light and soft to the bite. An excess of flour will make your gnocchi too dry and stodgy, while on the other hand a lack of consistency will make your gnocchi melt in boiling water. To test if the dough is the correct consistency, check if the dough holds together, and doesn’t stick to your hand or working surface. If not, add more flour, but little by little.
And now that everyone’s frightened… I must be sincere: preparing gnocchi is easier that it seams: it’s so simple that my grandma used to plann gnocchi sessions with us grand children, and I often prepare home made gnocchi with my little girl.
Making ridges to gnocchi is optional, but they are not only just ornamental. Their job is to detaing more condiment and turn gnocchi into a real yummy dish.
In order to make ridges, you can use a wooden board like the one in the picture, but seriously speaking I know few owners of this tool…
The most of the people make ridges, rolling each piece against the back tines of a fork.
Her you have a list and a link to my gnocchi recipes.
Potato gnocchi with basil pesto
Grilled gnocchi alla sorrentina casserole
Sausage and Artichoche gnocchi casserole
Potato gnocchi with mushrooms
Potato gnocchi with gorgonzola and nuts