Gnocchi dishes

The word gnocchi derives from the Italian word nocchio, meaning a knot in wood. These tiny pasta type dumplings are served in a bowl with various sauces and have become the classic Italian dish of the common people. My mother often says that Gnocchi powered Italy through good times and dark times. You may have tasted it in Europe as Roman Legions introduced it during their expansion across the continent.

The key thing about gnocchi is that it can be made from so many things in the kitchen cabinet - semolina, ordinary wheat flour, egg, cheese, potato and even breadcrumbs. In this lesson we will learn to make a Potato gnocchi with pistachio sauce and a Semolina Gnocchi with pork belly.

For the Potato Gnocchi we will start with your standard raw potato which we will boil, mash, mix with flour and then sculpt into small pieces. In Verona we decorate each gnocchi piece by using the back of a cheese grater as it takes the flavour of the sauce much better. I have chosen to teach a Pistachio sauce because it seems to always bring the biggest smile to my friends. For the Semolina gnocchi, which is equally charming but with crisp and baked edges, we will add pork belly. I believe that both these dishes will give you the perfect grounding to keep experimenting with a classic that is often the cornerstone of an Italian lunch.

Copyright 2012 Laura Pirani