Everyone has their favourite pasta dish and even their favourite shape of pasta. Although it might seem strange to prefer one shape over another - pasta is essentially made from the same ingredients - there is a logic to it: some shapes work better with certain sauces. You might not be able to put into words why, but that's how it is!
Amidst the primi piatti on many an Italian menu, often hides a gnocchi dish. Unable to pronounce it - never mind divine what on earth it could be - you have passed it up for your tagliatelles and raviolis, your bologneses and butter reductions. The stuff you know. But gnocchi (it's "ny-ocky", by the way) is a standout dish. It's not just a type of pasta - it's an alternative and one that's definitely worth trying.
What goes into gnocchi?
Gnocchi are soft dough dumplings that can be made with a range of different ingredients. These include potato, semolina, cheese or cornmeal, plain or with extra flavourings added into the mix. The dough is cut into bite-sized pieces that are ridged to help the sauce cling to them.
It is their simplicity that gives many gnocchi dishes their appeal, with just a little sage butter melted over them for a surprisingly intense flavour. However, they can also carry more complex sauces well. At the 48H Pizza and Gnocchi Bar, our pick is the Agnello Gnocchi. The sauce of slow-cooked lamb, tomato, olives and wild mushrooms is a taste of the Italian countryside on your plate.
1. A gluten-free alternative to pasta
Having gnocchi as a choice opens up possibilities for gluten-free diners who can't eat pasta. At Vapiano, all the pasta sauces on the menu are available to order with their gluten-free gnocchi instead of pasta. Enjoy the simplicity of Aglio e Oglio - garlic and olive oil - or the superb combination of doughy gnocchi with prawns, pesto and baby spinach in the creamy sauce of the Gamberi e Spinaci.
2. Gnocchi variations
While potato gnocchi are the norm in most restaurants, there are plenty of other types of gnocchi to try. Hunt around for carrot or beet gnocchi and you're guaranteed gorgeous colours on your plate. Or go for the classic type of gnocchi served in Lombardy and Tuscany - ricotta gnocchi. Rococo does a fabulous Handmade Ricotta Gnocchi dish that comes with a San Marzano tomato and basil sauce, pangrattato, garlic and mozzarella. A wealth of flavoursome ingredients in a dish that oozes authenticity. It doesn't get much better than this.
3. Decadent gnocchi
But enough of this simplicity stuff - because gnocchi dishes can be extravagant too. Check out the Gnocchi Aragosta from The Spaghetti House in Brisbane. This is a gnocchi dish of which every mouthful should be savoured. The lobster-flavoured gnocchi is served with flair in a creamy tomato sauce. It's decadent, it's delicious, it's daring - it's the ideal dish for a romantic dinner at home!
Try one of these fantastic gnocchi dishes next time you're ordering Italian with Deliveroo – you won't be disappointed!