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For the Italian baroque composer, see Pietro Gnocchi.
Gnocchi di ricotta burro e salvia.jpg
Gnocchi di ricotta, dressed in butter and sage
Type Dumpling
Course Entrée
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 (/ˈnjɒki, ˈnɒ-, ˈn-, ˈnɔː-/[1][2][3] 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,[4] ordinary wheat flour,[5] egg,[6] cheese,[7] potato,[8] breadcrumbs,[9] or similar ingredients.[10][11][12]

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,[13] similar to Tuscan gnudi which distinctively contain just a few flour;[14] Campanian strangulaprievete are flour-based gnocchi, just like Apulian cavatielli and Sardinian malloreddus, and so on.[15]

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,[16] or from nocca (meaning knuckle).[17] It has been a traditional type of Italian pasta of (probable) Middle Eastern origin since Roman times.[18] 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.[citation needed] 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.[19] 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.

Regional varieties[edit]

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.[citation needed]


Gnocchi are a very popular and often served dish in coastal Croatia, typically being served as a first course or a side dish with Dalmatinska pašticada. The Croatian name for Gnocchi is 'njoki'.


The name is also used in France in the dish known as gnocchis à la parisienne, a hot dish comprising gnocchi formed of choux pastry served with Béchamel sauce.

A specialty of Nice, the gnocchi de tantifla a la nissarda, is made with potatoes and wheat flour.[20]

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.

South America[edit]

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.[21][22]


A type of pasta that is called "gnocchi"

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.


Gnocchi being prepared 
Spinach gnocchi with butter and sage 
Gnocchi with truffle 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gnocchi". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 2016-01-22. 
  2. ^ "Gnocchi". Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved 2016-01-22. 
  3. ^ "Gnocchi". OUP. Retrieved 2016-01-22. 
  4. ^ Vincenzo Buonassisi, Il nuovo codice della pasta, Rizzoli 1985, recipe #850-853
  5. ^ Buonassisi, recipe #831-833
  6. ^ Buonassisi, recipe #837-838
  7. ^ Buonassisi, recipe #839-840
  8. ^ Buonassisi, recipe #854-857
  9. ^ Buonassisi, recipe #877 "Al Pien... si tratta di gnocchi, delicatissimi, secondo un'antica ricetta mantovana..."
  10. ^ Waverley Root, The Food of Italy, 1971 passim
  11. ^ Luigi Carnacina, Luigi Veronelli, La cucina rustica regionale (4 vol.), Rizzoli 1966, passim
  12. ^ Accademia Italiana della Cucina, La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy, tr. Jay Hyams, Rizzoli, 2009, passim
  13. ^ Buonassisi, recipe #875
  14. ^ Royer, Blake (April 15, 2010). "Homemade Gnudi from The Spotted Pig". Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  15. ^ Buonassisi, recipe #895
  16. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press. 1989. 
  17. ^ Lo Zingarelli, 2008.
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ Theisen, K. "World Potato Atlas: China - History and Overview". International Potato Center.
  20. ^ Traditions et Cuisine du pays Niçois, Recettes Niçoises de nos Grands-Mères. Myriam GARNERONE, Editions CPE. June 2008.
  21. ^ McClaughlin, Kate (January 29, 2011). "New World Gnocchi". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  22. ^ Schneider, Laura (February 4, 2014). "How Eating Italian Gnocchi Became a Monthly Tradition in Latin America". Global Voices. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Davidson, Alan. The Oxford Companion to Food, s.v. gnocchi.
  • Jenkins, Nancy Harmon. Flavors of Tuscany. 1998.
  • GARNERONE, Myriam. "Traditions et Cuisine du pays niçois, Recettes Niçoises de nos Grands-Mères". 2008.

External links[edit]

Media related to Gnocchi at Wikimedia Commons