There is a popular conception that Italians are very conservative when it comes to their food. However, this isn’t always true and certainly the younger generation, while being very respectful to their nonnas’ way of doing things, are happy to experiment even if they often go back to the old way of doing things. I created this recipe for gnocchi as an experiment, to try and revisit an old one. As you will read, it revives a now lost nineteenth-century way of doing things with a modern twist.
The origins of gnocchi
Most people are familiar with potato gnocchi, those small fluffy pasta substitutes which are a staple of most Italian restaurant menus. The name, which is thought to derive from the word for knuckle, nocca, is consistent with an Ancient origin. These dumplings resemble the animal knuckle bones which the Ancient Romans used as dice. The potato version, obviously does not have a Roman origin since the potato only reached Europe in the 16th Century. However, there are older versions of the recipe that don’t use potato at all.