The word gnocchi means “lumps”, and may derive from nocchio, a knot in the wood, or from nocca (knuckle). It has been a traditional Italian pasta type of probably Middle Eastern origin since Roman times. It was introduced by the Roman Legions during the enormous expansion of the empire into the countries of the European continent. In the past 2,000 years, each country developed its own specific type of small dumplings, with the ancient gnocchi as their common ancestor. In Roman times, gnocchi were made from a semolina porridge-like dough mixed with eggs, and are still found in similar forms today, particularly Sardinia‘s malloreddus (although they do not contain eggs).
The use of potato is a relatively recent innovation, occurring after the introduction of the potato to Europe in the 16th century.
I’ve been staying in a lot lately and cooking dinner. In fact other than going out to Boston for the weekend it’s almost two weeks since I’ve dined out :] Last night I made a little something something more jazzed up. I think of it as a “Spring” inspired dish but you could have it any time of the year… Why not make it GNOCCHI NIGHT!!!!! :D I was between a creamy sauce and a regular tomato-based sauce… but since we did that the night before [read on to hear a brief recap of that] I decided that it’d be creamy sauce time…
There’s no set recipe for this since I tend to just cook by taste and how I feel…
The pesto is just a big handful of basil leaves, about a cup of toasted pinenuts, 7-8 cloves of garlic and evoo drizzled in.
I pre-steam some sweet peas and ribbons of carrots for a few minutes.
I cook the gnocchi is salted boiling water until it floats…. I cheated and used freshly made gnocchi that I bought from Russo’s over the weekend back home in Massachusetts… I LOVE their freshly made pasta.. the night before this we had some of their raviolis for dinner :] — sweet pea/riccota, spinach/cheese and butternut squash. YUM.
While I wait on that I take some pesto in a pan, add some cream and a LOT of freshly greated parm reg and mix it all together. When the gnocchi is done I scoop it into the pan, add in the veggies and toss it together.
Even tho I’ve been going pretty vegetarian for awhile, decided that a little protein is good… so I grilled up a garlicky chicken breast on the side, sliced it up and topped off the bowl of gnocchi with the succulent chicken.
Simple. Quick. Easy. Delicious.
Refreshing, the veggies add a lightness to the creamy pesto just covering the pillowy potato goodnesses :D Yay.
And we have extra pesto to make other yummies/pastas with :]