Gnocchi definitely has its fans. While gnocchi is not the most popular of all the Italian dishes, the doughy taste of these rolled up little balls make them unique and special. For those who have a love for gnocchi, knowing a basic recipe allows you to whip up this fairly easy dish with relatively little effort.
Before we get into the “how and what” of a basic gnocchi recipe, let’s take a look at a little history of the pasta substitute.
Gnocchi: What They Are And Where They Came From
The most basic description of gnocchi is they are Italian dumplings served in the same manner as most pasta dishes. In other words, they are served with traditional red sauce and meatballs. Well, that is the most common way they are served. Gnocchi has been served with cream sauces, seafood, and other entrees. You really are not limited to any one way of serving them.
To say the recipe for gnocchi is old would be a major understatement. To refer to it an Italian recipe would be somewhat of a misnomer. The recipe may have originated in the Middle East several thousands of years ago and was eventually introduced to ancient Roman. The dish became popular in Roman society were is was a popular staple for lunch and dinner. As the Romans expanded throughout Europe via their growing empire, they brought their traditional food with them.
Over the ensuing centuries, gnocchi became associated with Italian cuisine. The word “gnocchi” is a derivative of traditional Italians words for “knot” and “knuckles”.
A Basic Gnocchi Recipe
At the heart of this recipe is the old-fashioned potato. Basically, you boil a number of potatoes until they are very soft. After they are soft, peel them. While you are doing this, you should boil another pot of water in which the peeled and mashed up potatoes are going to go in. Before you do this, you mash the potatoes on a plate, put some eggs in a hole you make in the center, and pour flour on top. Mash all this up again and start rolling up the dumplings. The gnocchi dumplings then go into the boiling pot of water where they cook until solid. You do want them to be a little gummy though since this adds to their charm.
Indulge in Variations of the Traditional
Once again, there are quite a number of different recipes in which you can make unique gnocchi dishes. For those who just want a simple and basic recipe, here is a traditional one. Using pure semolina flour to make the dumplings and no potatoes whatsoever would be among the most popular of substitutes. Others may choose to add a lot of other ingredients such as stuffing their preferred gnocchi selection with spinach or another vegetable.
Being creative is a good thing, but so is sticking to a simple recipe. If you have never made gnocchi before you should stay true to the basic recipe. In time, as you get a little more experienced, you can change things up.