If you, like many people, are a hardcore pasta lover, then you may want to expand your pallet and give something new a try. More specifically, gnocchi. If you aren’t already familiar with this heart, delicious entrée, then there is no better time to learn more about gnocchi, as you may be surprised by how delicious this dish really is.
What is Gnocchi?
Upon first glance, gnocchi and pasta may not seem all that different, in fact, they typically look pretty identical. However, gnocchi is not a form of pasta. It is actually a dumpling made out of potatoes. You can serve gnocchi with a variety of sauces and toppings such as cheese, tomato sauce, cream or pesto, just like pasta. While gnocchi originated in Italy and often is made with Italian flavors and spices, there are other forms of gnocchi that have different variations and are styles of gnocchi from South America, France and even Croatia.
The word gnocchi actually means “lumps” in Italy, which is a fairly accurate description of how this dish looks—it simply looks like lumps of cooked potatoes. Traditional gnocchi is fairly plain, much like pasta, which is why it is served with hearty sauces. However, some chefs will make “flavored” gnocchi such as pumpkin gnocchi for a unique spin on this classic.
When making gnocchi, chefs actually mix together cooked potatoes with flour and boil them. The result is a light, airy and fluffy piece of dumpling that is typically shaped and cut into bite-sized pieces. They often look like shells. This is why so many people easily confused gnocchi with pasta when it is presented.
Gnocchi should never be fried, it should always be boiled, light and fluffy.
A Brief History of Gnocchi
Gnocchi is a traditional Italian dish, however, depending on who you ask, they may tell you different things about what region these dumplings really came from. The word derives from the Italian word for knuckle, and there are many Italian regions that lay claim to the fact that they invented this dish.
Depending on where your gnocchi is from, it may be prepared in different ways or with different sauces and serving styles. In areas such as Lombardy, gnocchi is typically served in a simple butter dressing, while in Verona, it is typically prepared in tomato sauce. If you are trying gnocchi in America, you can find virtually any traditional Italian sauce on top of this dish.
Why You Should Give Gnocchi A Try
If you haven’t given this unique Italian dish a try before, then you should step outside your comfort zone to give gnocchi a try. If this is your first time, try it with a pasta sauce that you already know you like, in fact, you may be surprised by how much it tastes like your favorite pasta dish. The only real difference is in the light, creamy dumplings that you’re eating instead of pieces of pasta. In fact, most people like gnocchi dumplings more than the taste of regular pasta.
There are several variations of this dish, but in many preparations, gnocchi is actually a slightly healthier alternative than traditional white pasta which is another major perk. But, most importantly, you should try gnocchi because it is delicious and a true example of what makes Italian cuisine so popular.
Now that you have some background on this dish, you can don yourself a gnocchi connoisseur, and are ready to order. Next time you are out to eat at Bottiglia Enoteca in Las Vegas and want to take a break from your normal pasta routine, give gnocchi a try, it may just be your new favorite dish.