About Gnocchi

April 13, 2012 Published by Dina

Every culture has its dumpling and they form an integral part of their peasant cuisine. They are inexpensive to make, hearty, filling and bring home cooked comfort to your palate and your soul. Jewish mazzo ball soup is made with mazzo ball dumplings (kneidlach), Hungarians make their delicious spatzle, grated directly over a pot of boiling water, Chinese have their pot stickers, Ukrainians their perogies and Italians have their gnocchi.

All these little treasures begin with a dough made in different ways, cut into pieces or individually shaped and cooked in boiling water, soup or broth. Some are made with just flour and water, some with specialty flours (mazzo flour for the kneidlach), or filled with cheese, onion, potatoes etc. Gnocchi are made with cooked and riced (mashed) potatoes, to which you add flour, eggs, sometimes cheeses, vegetables and other seasoning.

I am offering a basic master gnocchi recipe made only with potatoes and flour. Once you have cooked it in boiling water, the fun begins and you can finish it in many different ways. From tomato sauce to creamy cheese sauces to a simple Sautee in butter or olive oil and a sprinkling of grated cheese, gnocchi will please your starch cravings every time. You can finish them in the oven under a light blanket of fontina, toss them with butter or olive oil in skillet and drizzle with toasted herbed crumbs, cover them with a light goat cheese sauce a more assertive sauce made with gorgonzola and cream. Add texture by adding chopped roasted nuts, crisp prosciutto or quick sautéed vegetables, and vary the flavours by using different herbs. Sage is one that is often paired with gnocchi and brown butter, so give it a try. I also vary the type of potatoes I use and one of my favourites is the sweet potato gnocchi.

Go and make some gnocchi for dinner tonight, expand you culinary horizons and enjoy the adventure.

Sweet potato gnocchi

Sweet potato gnocchi made with gnocchi board





  • Pam says:

    I am of Italian desent & have fond memories of my dear aunt creating these wonderful dumplings. I’ve never seen them made without eggs. Since I became a vegan I put gnocchi’s aside. Can’t wait to try these made without eggs!

    • Dina says:

      Hi Pam, I know, I am not of Italian decent but think of myself as Italian “wannabe”. I also try to eat as vegan as possible and these Gnocchi worked beautifully. I hope you enjoy.

  • Hulda Niv says:

    Hi Dina,
    The first time I was introduced to Gnocchi was when I met my Polish husband at 19 years of age; his mother made some and I fell in love with this simple, time consuming dish. The Polish people call it Kopytka. This dish was first introduced to the Roman royalty people during their tour to the Middle Eastern area by the Polish king in the second century. It was so good that the Roman legions brought it to other parts of their empire into the countries of the European continent.
    I usually make them during Rosh Hashanah, a Jewish high holiday and my family loves them. I have to admit however that the end result is not as pretty as yours Dina. I just make long strips and cut them before throwing them to salty boiled water.
    How do you make them even and decorated?

    • Dina says:

      Hi Hulda, thanks for the comment. Always interesting to hear about the origin of food. Many food items migrated during colonization and became staples in various cuisines. I make the gnocchi using a gnocchi board (see image above). You can buy it at any Italian market (try Lina’s Market). I am sure yours are delish, with or without the ridges.