Gnocchi di ricotta, dressed in butter and sage
|Place of origin||Italy|
|Serving temperature||Hot or warm|
|Main ingredient(s)||Potatoes (or semolina or wheat flour or breadcrumbs); sometimes eggs, cheese|
Gnocchi (pron.: // or //; Italian: [ˈɲɔkki], singular gnocco) are various thick, soft dumplings that may be made from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, flour and egg, flour, egg, and cheese, potato, breadcrumbs, or similar ingredients.
Like many Italian dishes, there is considerable variation in recipes and names across different regions. For example, the Tuscan malfatti (literally "poorly made") are a sort of flour, ricotta, and spinach gnocchi; the Pugliese cavatielli are flour-based, and so on.
Gnocchi are eaten as a first course (primi piatto), as an alternative to soups (minestre) or pasta. They are generally home-made in Italian and diaspora Italian households. They may also be bought fresh from speciality stores. In supermarkets, industrially produced packaged gnocchi are widely available refrigerated, dried, or frozen. Common accompaniments of gnocchi include melted butter (sometimes fried butter) with sage, pesto, and various sauces.
The word gnocchi may derive from the Italian word nocchio, meaning a knot in wood, or from nocca (meaning knuckle). It has been a traditional Italian pasta type of probable Middle Eastern origin since Roman times. It was introduced by the Roman legions during the expansion of the empire into the countries of the European continent. In the past 2,000 years, each country developed its own specific type of small dumpling, with the ancient gnocchi as their common ancestor. In Roman times, gnocchi were made from a semolina porridge-like dough mixed with eggs, and are still found in similar forms today, particularly the oven-baked gnocchi alla romana and Sardinia's malloreddus (although these do not contain eggs).
The use of potato is a relatively recent innovation, occurring after the introduction of the potato to Europe in the 16th century. Potato gnocchi are particularly popular in Abruzzo, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Ciociaria and other provinces of Latium. As with other mashed potato dishes they are best prepared with floury potatoes to keep a light texture.
Regional varieties 
One variety, gnocchi di pane (literally "bread lumps"), derived from the Semmelknödel, is made from breadcrumbs and is popular in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. Another variety from the latter region is spinach gnocchi.
South America 
Due to the significant number of Italian immigrants who arrived in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, gnocchi, ñoqui (Spanish, [ˈɲoki]) or nhoque (Portuguese, pronounced: [ˈɲɔki]) is a popular dish, even in areas with few Italian immigrants. In Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil there is a tradition of eating gnocchi on the 29th of each month, with some people putting money beneath their plates to bring prosperity.
See also 
- Vincenzo Buonassisi, Il nuovo codice della pasta, Rizzoli 1985, recipe #850-853
- Buonassisi, recipe #831-833
- Buonassisi, recipe #837-838
- Buonassisi, recipe #839-840
- Buonassisi, recipe #854-857
- Buonassisi, recipe #877 "Al Pien... si tratta di gnocchi, delicatissimi, secondo un'antica ricetta mantovana..."
- Waverley Root, The Food of Italy, 1971 passim
- Luigi Carnacina, Luigi Veronelli, La cucina rustica regionale (4 vol.), Rizzoli 1966, passim
- Accademia Italiana della Cucina, La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy, tr. Jay Hyams, Rizzoli, 2009, passim
- Buonassisi, recipe #875
- Buonassisi, recipe #895
- Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press. 1989.
- Lo Zingarelli, 2008.
- Serventi, Silvano; Françoise Sabban (2002). Pasta: The Story of a Universal Food. Trans. Antony Shugaar. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 17. ISBN 0-231-12442-2.
- Theisen, K. "World Potato Atlas: China - History and Overview". International Potato Center.
Further reading 
- Davidson, Alan. The Oxford Companion to Food, s.v. gnocchi.
- Jenkins, Nancy Harmon. Flavors of Tuscany. 1998.
Media related to Gnocchi at Wikimedia Commons
- Gnocchi Recipe, with video
- Gnocchi Recipe
- Homemade Potato Gnocchi Recipe
- Step-by-Step Illustrated Gnocchi Recipe
- Never Fry Gnocchi!