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Why We Love Gnocchi

Whether homemade, frozen, or shelf-stable, we break down why every busy home cook needs to add gnocchi to their rotation.

Soft, pillowy, and ready to be covered in sauce, gnocchi make for a delicious, satisfying, and versatile meal. Similar to pasta, gnocchi — which translates to “a knot in wood” because of their knotty shape — are technically dumplings. There are many different ways to prep, cook, and serve them. The dish is traditionally made with potatoes, but cauliflower can also be used as a lower-carb alternative. Once the dumplings are formed, they can be boiled, pan-fried, or roasted and the possibilities from there are endless.

While I’ve been a longtime fan, it wasn’t until spending the holidays with my in-laws that I learned how easy and fun making gnocchi from scratch can be. My fiancé’s Italian family makes their recipe using potatoes, and lots of them. After the dough is formed, we roll it out into long, rope-like strips and start cutting off small chunks to make the gnocchi. Before they go into their boiling water bath, we roll each bit of dough along the tines of a fork. This makes tiny lines that help the gnocchi grab onto their sauce better later. For sauce, my fiancé’s family likes to keep things simple with butter and sage, which they make using fresh sage from my fiancé’s father’s garden.

For a similar result that cuts out time spent waiting for potatoes to boil, try this recipe for Easy Homemade Gnocchi that uses instant mashed potatoes as its base and finishes with a butter and sage sauce.

Another way to make gnocchi from scratch is to use a cauliflower base. Frozen riced cauliflower is a smart way to jump-start the process, as it’s already chopped into tiny pieces that can be incorporated into the dough easily. Pair the cauliflower dumplings with store-bought tomato sauce, like this recipe for Cauliflower Gnocchi with Marinara Sauce, and you have a quick and easy plant-based weeknight dinner that everyone will enjoy.

Short on time for dough mixing and chopping? Frozen gnocchi dumplings are a great shortcut for getting dinner on the table with ease. All you need are a few simple ingredients to dress them up and they will be restaurant-worthy in no time.

For an impressive but shockingly simple take on cacio e pepe, this recipe for Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi makes a sauce out of butter, parmesan cheese, and black pepper that’s ready in less than 20 minutes. It doesn’t get much faster or tastier than that.

If you’re looking for a creamy and delicious way to eat your greens, this Creamed Spinach Gnocchi recipe is definitely for you. Frozen spinach, cream cheese, and mozzarella cheese make a melty, cheesy bake you’ll want to add to your dinner rotation.

Stocking your pantry with shelf-stable gnocchi is another great way to keep this dinner hero on hand without taking up freezer space. Back in my college days, my mother often gifted me packs of shelf-stable gnocchi in care packages so that I could make a simple yet satisfying meal in my tiny dorm kitchen, like this Sheet Pan Gnocchi Florentine.

While my college meals only included store-bought sauce, the uses for shelf-stable gnocchi are almost endless. One unexpected way to use them is in a warm, comforting soup. This Thai Chicken Soup with Gnocchi Dumplings recipe incorporates shelf-stable gnocchi, red curry, coconut milk, chicken, and vegetables into a hearty lunch or pick-me-up when you’re feeling under the weather.

Another tasty way to switch up your gnocchi game is to roast them in the oven until they’re golden brown and gently crisp, like this Sheet Pan Roasted Shrimp and Gnocchi with Avocado-Lime Sauce. You can easily add other ingredients to the same sheet pan to make it a complete meal. This flavorful, five-ingredient dinner pairs the potato dumplings with frozen shrimp and a zingy avocado-lime sauce.

No matter how you heat them, dress them up, or serve them up, one thing is certain: when gnocchi is on the menu, everyone will gobble them up!

Byline: Lauren Schuster is a food and lifestyle writer living in New York City. She has been covering the coffee and cocktail industries, the New York City food and restaurant scene, and more for 3 years.

IG: @laurenwrites19

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