Lots of gnocchi pieces over table waiting to be boiled
Gnocchi's Origins Date Back All The Way To The Italian Renaissance
By Nick Johnson
While the earliest recorded gnocchi recipe can be traced back to Rome in the first century A.D., it was the Italian Renaissance that created the modern version we’re all familiar with. Gnocchi is known for the ridges that create its signature texture, derived from Italian words like “nocca” (knuckles) and “khonha” (knot).
In 1570, Renaissance chef Bartolomeo Scappi published a recipe featuring a flour and breadcrumb dough extruded through cheese grater holes, making the bite-sized pasta nuggets that have come to define gnocchi. In modern recipes, gnocchi dough combines potato with flour, which turns it into a dough capable of withstanding a boiling pot of water.
This definitive modern potato gnocchi recipe was provided by Italian cookbook author Pellegrino Artusi in the late 19th century, who rubbed the pasta against the backside of a cheese grater to give it those ridges. The city of Verona, Italy, even hosts an annual festival called Venerdì Gnocolar (Gnocchi Friday) on the last Friday before the Lenten season.