|Place of origin||Italy|
|Main ingredients||Potatoes (or semolina or wheat flour or breadcrumbs); sometimes eggs, cheese|
|Variations||cavatielli, gnudi, malfatti, malloreddus, strangulaprievete|
|Cookbook: Gnocchi Media: Gnocchi|
Gnocchi (/, , , / N(Y)OK-ee or NOH-kee, NAW-kee; Italian: [ˈɲɔkki], singular gnocco) are various thick, soft dough dumplings that may be made from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, egg, cheese, potato, breadcrumbs, or similar ingredients.
Like many Italian dishes, there is considerable variation in recipes and names across different regions. For example, Lombard and Tuscan malfatti (literally "poorly made") are a sort of flour, ricotta, and spinach gnocchi, similar to Tuscan gnudi which distinctively contain just a few flour; Campanian strangulaprievete are flour-based gnocchi, just like Apulian cavatielli and Sardinian malloreddus, and so on.
Gnocchi are eaten as a first course (primo 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 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 type of Italian pasta 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 starchy potatoes to keep a light texture.
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.
A variant of gnocchi de tantifla a la nissarda is la merda dé can, literally, "the dog shit". It is made with potatoes, wheat flour, eggs and blette (Swiss chard), which is also used for the tourte de blette. La merda dé can is longer than the original gnocchi.
Due to the significant number of Italian immigrants who arrived in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, gnocchi, ñoqui (Spanish, [ˈɲoki]) or nhoque (Portuguese, pronounced: [ˈɲɔki]) is a popular dish, even in areas with few Italian immigrants. In Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina there is a tradition of eating gnocchi on the 29th of each month, with some people putting money beneath their plates to bring prosperity.
In some places gnocchi, as they are an Italian dish, are considered a kind of pasta, when in fact in Italy they are seen as an alternative to pasta. However, some producers have real pasta shaped and named as gnocchi.
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Media related to Gnocchi at Wikimedia Commons
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