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potato and pasta dumplings


Gnocchi (meaning 'knots', most likely) have been around since Roman times. Literally, it means 'dumplings'. Lately it has come to mean the thing a lot of central Italian kids can count on every Thursday night: heavy potato dumplings with a plain tomato sauce and lots of cheese. We suspect they're intended to be mom's night off.

Verona claims the best, and even has a dumpling pope, il Papà del Gnoccho, who presides at Carnevale's Baccanal del Gnocco, a tradition dating back over 400 years, after a famine struck the city and a benefactor donated the ingredients to make a gnocchi feast for the town. A bit confusingly, in the south, gnocchi often mean the same as strozzapreti.

Il Papà del Gnocco

Some gnocchi classics:

gnocchi alla bava: a speciality of Piedmont, served with butter and Fontina and topped with Grano Padano.

gnocchi a coda de soreca: 'mouse tail' gnocchi—a long form of gnocchi made with wheat flour and corn flour, made in Lazio. Similar to strozzapreti, and served with a lamb, boar, or pork ragú.

gnocchi carrati: in the Abruzzo, served with pancetta, eggs and cheese.

gnocchi alle ortica: green dumplings, made with nettles and ricotta.

gnocchi alla romana: made of semolina and baked with butter and Parmesan.

gnocchi alla sorrentina: with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil.

gnocchi di spinaci e ricotta: made with spinach and ricotta.

gnocchi di susine: gnocchi filled with prunes, topped with melted butter, cinnamon and bread crumbs (Friuli).

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Marco Fedele, Verona Turismo