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What Is Gnocchi?

What is Gnocchi? What is Potato Gnocchi?

Gnocchi is an Italian pasta, the most common of which is classic potato gnocchi (Gnocchi di patate). They are made of cooked mashed potatoes, flour and eggs. Some gnocchi recipes add ricotta to the dough.

Homemade Potato Gnocchi

Photo by Getty Images

What is the Best Sauce for Gnocchi?

There are countless recipes for gnocchi so determining which one is best is a tough call. Because of their shape -- small squat shells with ripples -- gnocchi are especially good for thick sauces but they’re also delicious just drizzled generously with brown butter and a little sage, or with a creamy gorgonzola sauce.

Gnocchi primavera are made with potato gnocchi and crisp spring vegetables, such as asparagus, peas or snow peas but you can also add zucchini, broccoli, and other vegetables.

Gnocchi sorrentina are gnocchi baked in thick tomato sauce and topped with lots of cheese, typically mozzarella.

Gnocchi Bolognese are, as the name indicates, gnocchi in a rich meaty Bolognese sauce.

What are Roman Gnocchi?

Unlike potato gnocchi, Roman gnocchi (Gnocchi alla romana), are made with semolina instead of potatoes and flour, that’s why they are also called Semolina gnocchi.

Roman gnocchi are shaped differently than potato gnocchi. Similar to polenta, the cooked dough, once it’s cooled and firmed up, is sliced into rounds or cut out with a round cookie cutter, then layered in a baking dish and baked with butter, egg yolks and Parmesan.

Roman Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla romana) | Photo by Matt Wencl

What is Skillet Gnocchi?

Skillet Gnocchi is simply a convenient way to turn store-bough gnocchi into a quick dinner. Frozen or shelf-stable gnocchi are cooked in a skillet and mixed with vegetables such as asparagus, spinach or Swiss chard, and seafood such as shrimp, then finished under the broiler in the oven.

What is Chicken Gnocchi Soup?

The most comforting of all soups, chicken soup, made with gnocchi, which are also referred to as Italian dumplings. As regularly-size gnocchi are a bit large for soup, Chicken Gnocchi Soup is usually made with mini gnocchi.

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Chicken Gnocchi Soup | Photo by Wlmcneil

What is Spinach Gnocchi?

Spinach gnocchi, often combined with ricotta, is one of the many variations of the classic potato gnocchi. Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi originate in Tuscany, and they look more like irregularly shaped dumplings, which earned them their Italian name Malfatti, which literally means “badly made.”

What is Cauliflower Gnocchi?

This gluten-free, low-carb variation of gnocchi is made with fresh riced cauliflower and gluten-free flours such as cassava flour and potato starch. It is also suitable for the Keto diet. Cauliflower gnocchi are available ready-made but can also be made at home.

Some Favorite Gnocchi Recipes

Gnocchi I

All you need are three basic ingredients to make these light, delicious dumplings: potatoes, flour, and an egg. "Great recipe!" raves MAEPLI. "I have a tip for anyone who thinks the recipe takes too long -- after I knead the dough, I put it in an icing bag, squeeze it straight into the boiling water, cutting it into 1-inch pieces as I squeeze."

Gnocchi I

Photo by KGora

Chef John's Basil Ricotta Gnocchi

"This technique turns out beautifully light, tender gnocchi every time and are just as good, if not better, than the classic potato-based gnocchi," says Chef John. "And much easier. Plus you can make them ahead of time and brown them in butter before serving."

Homemade Gluten-Free Gnocchi

"There is nothing like homemade gnocchi," says Buckwheat Queen. "They taste like potatoes with a bouncy texture, even without gluten. This gluten-free version uses a trick from the past when Italian cooks would toss potatoes into a fire or oven that was being cooled down so as not to waste the heat. Surplus baked potatoes became gnocchi because they have very little moisture (the secret to firm gnocchi) and they have a roasted potato flavor, taking your dish one step farther."

Homemade Gluten-Free Gnocchi

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

"A new and yummy twist on gnocchi," says ELA33INE. "Pair this up with butter or your favorite alfredo sauce. This recipe can be made with butternut squash instead of the sweet potatoes."

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Photo by Chef V

Chef John's Potato Gnocchi

"When I found one lone russet potato at the bottom of the bin, I decided to make a small batch of gnocchi--the perfect thing to do with one potato," says Chef John. "I like a very potato-y gnocchi, so I go with just enough flour to form the dough. Other people prefer a denser, more pasta-like dumpling, and use much more flour. I know many of you hate it when I say this, but you'll just have to figure it out as you go."

Chef John's Potato Gnocchi

Photo by a.palhegyi

Chicken Sausage Gnocchi Skillet

"A light-tasting dish with mild flavors that is quick to prepare as long as you prep the gnocchi in advance," says Dave Niezabitowski Sr.

Chicken Sausage Gnocchi Skillet

Photo by Kim's Cooking Now

Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella

"Known as 'gnocchi alla sorrentina,' this classic Italian pasta dish that uses simple ingredients and tastes delicious," says saretta. "Use homemade or store-bought gnocchi."

Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella

Photo by saretta

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

"Nice Olive Garden® knockoff," says John. "Soup will thicken after sitting."

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Photo by Linda T

Check out our collection of Gnocchi Recipes.

Nadia Hassani

About Nadia Hassani

Passionate locavore cook and gardener who loves to make everything fresh and from scratch. Cookbook author and blogger. Can be found as nch on Allrecipes and on Instagram.