Gnocchi are a typical dish of Italian culinary tradition.
The origins of the gnocchi are very old indeed they date back to the importation of potatoes, after the discovery of America.
They are considered a first course very versatile and tasty, in fact, they can have different shape and ingredients, and can be accompanied by any type of seasoning.
History of Gnocchi
The origins of Gnocchi date back to ancient times. In fact, in the fourteenth century, the Italian writer Boccaccio named them in his book, the Decameron. Making them was really simple, just mix flour with water and cook in boiling water. Probably gnocchi are the first form of pasta used and designed by man, in fact it can be spongy mix cold a little flour, with water, create small balls of dough and cook them in boiling water.
The first Gnocchi appeared during the Renaissance banquets of Lombardy. In fact, at the court of the Sforza family, on the occasion of wedding banquets and celebrations for military victories, “zanzarelli” were served a type of gnocchi prepared with breadcrumbs, minced almonds, milk and cheese typical of the city of Lodi. Often, natural dyes were added to the mixture to change its color and flavor. They were usually added: green (beet and spinach), yellow (pumpkin or saffron), whites (minced chicken meat), or orange (carrots).
In the seventeenth century they were called “malfatti” and the mixture was composed only of flour, water, and eggs.
After the discovery of America in the sixteenth century, the potato replaced the flour. Nowadays potato Gnocchi are a typical dish of Italian culinary tradition.
In Rome, according to tradition, Gnocchi were the typical dish of Thursday. In the South, on the other hand, especially in Campania, they were prepared on Sundays.
How to prepare Gnocchi
Different types of Gnocchi
The regional culinary tradition in Italy has one or more types of typical gnocchi.
- Gnocchi alla bava: white flour and buckwheat, seasoned with fontina or Piedmontese toma
- Gnocchi Dunderet: made of flour, eggs and milk with an elongated and irregular shape. In the past they were prepared only on Sundays
- “gnoc de la cua” (gnocchi of the tail): made with spinach or herbs, stale bread and eggs, are seasoned with grated silter cheese
- Gnocchi Malfatti: like the previous ones but also some grated cheese is added to the mixture
- “gnocchi de ‘pa”: with stale bread, soaked in water or milk, and flour
- pizzoccheri of Val Chiavenna: bread crumbs and eggs or flour and milk more casera melted
- Gnocchi “capunsei”: prepared with stale bread, grana padano, nutmeg, garlic, melted butter and eggs. They can be served with various condiments: butter and sage, tomato, Mantuan sausage or with herbs
- Gnocchi “gnocarei”: polenta, flour and eggs
- Gnocchi “gnòc de schelt”: with chestnut flour, white flour and buckwheat flour
- Pumpkin gnocchi: served with butter and Parmesan cheese
Trentino Alto Adige
- Canederli: Gnocchi whit a mixture of stale bread, eggs, milk, onion, parsley and chives, to which are added speck or cheeses, can be served in broth or with melted butter and grated cheese
- Spätzle: gnocchi made with wheat flour, water, eggs, spinach, herbs and ricotta, dressed with bacon, melted cheese or cream
Friuli Venezia Giulia
- “gnocchetti de gries”: semolina and egg, served in broth or with melted butter
- “gnocchi de susini”: a mixture of potatoes that surrounds a dried plum
Veneto: Gnocchi are a real tradition, in fact during the Carnival period the King of Gnocco is celebrated and elected.
- “gnochi con la fioreta”: a semi-liquid ricotta mixed with flour and seasoned with melted butter and seasoned cheese
- Gnocchi “pisarei e faśö”: nuggets of flour and breadcrumbs, cut the size of a bean seasoned with beans, lard, onion and tomato
- Gnocchi “malfatti di Borgotaro”: ricotta and herbs
- Gnocchi “gnudi”: made with ricotta and spinach
- “gnocchi del cicolano”: corn flour, wheat flour, salt and warm water
- Gnocchi “matuffi”: gnocchi made of gnocchi, alternated with layers of meat or mushroom sauce and parmesan cheese
- “gnocchi di Apecchio”: corn flour, white flour and water
- “gnocchi alla collescipolana”: flour and breadcrumbs, seasoned with sausage, tomato and beans
- “gnocchi alla romana”: semolina seasoned with butter and parmesan
- “gnocchi ricci”: flour, eggs and hot water, are seasoned with sheep’s and sheep’s milk stew.
- “gnocchi alla sorrentina”: accompanied by tomato and mozzarella, are baked oven
- Gnocchi “Triddhi”: eggs, durum wheat semolina and parsley cooked in broth. They are eaten at Christmas and Easter.
- “ganeffe”: rice dough, amalgamated with butter, egg yolk, parmesan and saffron. These gnocchi are first floured and fried, then served in broth
- Gnocchi “malloreddus”: semolina and water and seasoned with Sardinian sausage, tomato, saffron and pecorino cheese
Gnocchi are one of the most popular and loved dishes by the inhabitants of the Italian peninsula, so much so that a whole day dedicated to these little delights was set up. In fact, November 18 is celebrated the national day of dumpling, a first course that since ancient times has managed to conquer everyone for its simplicity and its ability to marry to condiments of any kind, thus passing from being a food of the peasants, to be one of the most popular foods at the courts of the richest.
Potato gnocchi have been the typical dish of the Verona carnival for five centuries. In 1531, in fact, a serious famine struck the city and the citizens were on the verge of a popular uprising because of the conditions in which they were forced to live, particularly in the San Zeno district, which at the time was the most populated and poor of the city. To calm their citizens, the City Council, headed by Thomas DA Vico, distributed large numbers of bread, wine, flour, butter, eggs and cheese to the people. In his will, Tommaso Da Vico, I wrote that there would be an ordinance that every year on that day free food would be distributed to the inhabitants of San Zeno. After this episode, the tradition of the “Venerdi Gnocolar” was born, the main event of the carnival in Verona, where is elected the King of Gnocco.
In July in Lapedona, in the province of Fermo, in the Marche region, the gnocchi festival is celebrated. The historic center of the small town hosts events dedicated to food and wine, music and sport. In fact, during these days of celebration, you can taste dishes of the local tradition, made with products at zero Km, listening to good music, and enjoying a good glass of typical wine walking and admiring the medieval village of the city.
At Sannazzaro de ‘Burgondi, in the province of Pavia, in Lombardy, the Gnocchi Festival in honor of the two saints of the city (Nazario and Celso) is celebrated in late July. The popular tradition wants the farmers to collect potatoes in the gardens at the end of July and that, to verify the goodness, they prepared the gnocchi on the festive day of Nazario and Celso. During the celebration, in the square, you can taste gnocchi with meat sauce, basil pesto and walnut sauce, all accompanied by music, songs and dances.
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