GnocchiItalian Gnocchi (say nee-okky)

One cookbook calls them light pillows of pasta. Well, light pillows certainly describes them perfectly, but gnocchi’s not your mama’s pasta. Like pasta, they are the perfect vehicle for a wide variety of sauces, from simple to hearty, but gnocchi are, more correctly, little dumplings (or strictly translated from the Italian, lumps). Recipes for gnocchi date back to the 12th century and probably originated in the north of Italy. Ingredients vary: they can be made from flour, squash, cheese, or polenta, but most often gnocchi are made from potatoes.

In Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, where Italian cuisine is popular, it’s traditional to eat gnocchi on the 29th day of each month, just before payday, when pocketbooks are almost empty. With its simple components, gnocchi make a cheap and hearty meal.

For the February Cooking for Charity class, Pat Lee, chef and manager at Steamboat Inn demonstrated how to make these little gems and gave us all a chance to practice our rolling technique. She made the traditional potato recipe two ways, with and without eggs, and made complementary sauces. Naturally, there was lots of tasting!

Potato Gnocchi
Gnocchialla Romana (baked semolina gnocchi)
Spinach, Pancetta and Ricotta Gnocchi
Gorgonzola Sauce
Sage Butter