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Best gnocci in the area?

AmblerGirl Aug 17, 2008 06:28 AM

I went to La Viola last night and had amazing gnocci - light and pillowy. I think it was some of the best I had. Nothing is better than good gnocci, and nothing is worse than bad gnocci(heavy, chewy). I think its the tell take sign of a good restaurant. Here are a list of my favorites:

La Viola (Philly)
Hosteria de Elio (Philly)
Ristorante Casetllo (North Wales)

Any other places have great gnocci? Any gnocci to be avoided?

  1. m
    missfunkysoul Sep 25, 2008 03:15 PM

    the gnocchi w/butternut squash and sage in brown butter at bistro 7 is to die for.

    4 Replies
    1. re: missfunkysoul
      joluvscards Sep 25, 2008 04:27 PM

      Bistro 7 has my fav gnocchi too.

      1. re: joluvscards
        McYogi Oct 13, 2008 05:32 PM

        There's a new pizza & pasta place in Broad Axe (used to be called Capri, I think)...now it's Maria's -- they gnocchi are fresh and fantastic.

        1. re: McYogi
          AmblerGirl Oct 13, 2008 06:03 PM

          Oooh, tell me more! Where in Broad Axe is it located? Is it in the same shopping center as Tamarindo's? For the life of me, I cannot picture where it would be.....

          1. re: AmblerGirl
            Tedshell Oct 30, 2008 05:40 PM

            I tried it last weekend and was not impressed. Average pizza and mediocre pasta. The meatballs in the meatball parm were good, but they used a lousy roll. The place is clean and decorated nicely, but it's nothing special. And yes, it's located right next to Tamarindo's.

    2. Den Sep 24, 2008 03:38 PM

      I went to Osteria Bel Sogno in Springfield on Monday night and San Marco in Springhouse for lunch today and both versions of gnocchi are sublime, light as pillows. The Osteria Bel Sogno was with a Bolognese sauce and the San Marco was with a gorgonzola.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Den
        Beulah Sep 25, 2008 01:56 PM

        La Famiglia has great gnocchi.

        1. re: Beulah
          Schpsychman Sep 25, 2008 03:05 PM

          The key to making light-as-air gnocci is to use potato, boiled until very soft and then pushed through a ricer, creating air in the mixture and resulting in the "pillow effect". This is typically a more Northern Italian method and Southern Italians tend to merely use flour. My Sicilian grandmother made very good gnocci, though they were always of the "sinker" variety as I used to call them. They could do you in and quickly! The method above takes time though, and not all restaurants have the time to make handmade potato gnocci. One thing is for sure, when they are made well they are heavenly indeed.

          1. re: Schpsychman
            mazza3 Sep 26, 2008 07:48 AM

            this is not quite right. ricotta is used in the lighter gnocci varieties. pushing potatoes through a ricer requires tons of flour (and therefore makes them heavier) if you boil them (not bake or steam them).

            1. re: mazza3
              Schpsychman Sep 26, 2008 08:07 AM

              Well I know no Tuscan who uses ricotta in their gnocci! I've had very light, pillow-like potato gnocci without one bit of ricotta in them. I have had gnocci with ricotta in them and personally I think it can make them a little too mushy. As I said, my grandparents were from Sicily so I am very familiar with the use of ricotta in a lot of things. Interestingly, my grandmother never used ricotta in her gnocci either. One thing is for sure: gnocci is a relatively simple (albeit time consuming) dish to prepare but quite difficult to prepare well!

              1. re: Schpsychman
                Bigley9 Sep 26, 2008 09:13 AM

                I had tried to make gnocci numerous times without success (well, they looked ok, but ugh - lead or paste) until I found a recipe recently that had you rice the potatoes onto a baking sheet in a thin layer and let them cool before proceeding - absolute perfection! I was amazed and thrilled, so I have to agree with Schpsy!

                1. re: Bigley9
                  Den Sep 27, 2008 03:41 PM

                  Bigley, I have heard of cooling the potato. Do you let it fully cool to room temperature?

                  1. re: Den
                    Schpsychman Sep 28, 2008 02:37 PM

                    I do not, personally I work with it while it's still warm, but that's me.

                    1. re: Den
                      Bigley9 Sep 29, 2008 08:12 AM

                      No, just not steaming, it is still warm.

                  2. re: Schpsychman
                    SpdRcr069 Sep 29, 2008 12:03 PM

                    My family spent 3 weeks this past summer in Italy most of it was at a beautiful villa just outside of the small village called Cetona. We had a chef prepare regional /Tuscan and Emilia-Romagna dishes / pasta. Such as, pappardelle with a hearty boar ragu, picci – thick long pasta like spaghetti, but thicker, gnocchi which was made with ricotta, not mushy but pillow light and just lovely. When we were in Rome we went to a small family restaurant the Roman Style gnocchi was baked so the top gnocchi’s were lightly toasted in a very hearty ragu. Anyway, the gnocchi that we were served in both Rome and Tuscany were made with ricotta.

                    The chef offered cooking lessons on our last evening in Tuscany. He taught us how to make homemade pastas such as picci, ravioli, pappardelle; a perfect pizza dough for a perfect baked pizza and gnocchi. We all, including the chef, his son/ assistant and another assistant sat down and ate all that we had all participated in making.

                  3. re: mazza3
                    Major504 Oct 30, 2008 02:46 PM

                    I have no experience with ricotta in gnocchi...however...Pushing the potatoes through a ricer doesn't require a lot of flour. Actually, I think it's the key to light gnocchi. My best gnocchi start with potatoes (starchy ones like idahos) cooked (boiled) in their skin. Then let them rest a couple minutes on a sheet pan...then put them in a relatively hot oven for just a few minutes...this will help them dry. Then push through the ricer...this will skin them. When adding the eggs/cheese/flour/seasonings...always be sure not to overwork the dough. Use a fork to add all the ingredients...When adding the flour just push it in with your fingertips...don't knead it all in. Then knead it just enough to form a ball. Let it rest a few minutes to let the gluten relax before rolling and cutting. It's all about experience with the feel of the dough.

            2. r
              rocknroll52 Sep 24, 2008 11:46 AM

              Mezza Luna in South Philly has great home made gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce

              1. s
                sadiefox Sep 23, 2008 01:35 PM

                I had some amazing gnocchi at Paradiso on Passyunk the other day...

                1. b
                  Bigley9 Aug 18, 2008 08:14 AM

                  well of course there is always Vetri...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bigley9
                    Delucacheesemonger Sep 28, 2008 02:41 PM

                    agree, spot on

                  2. Den Aug 18, 2008 07:44 AM

                    San Marco in Springhouse has excellent gnocchi.

                    1. s
                      sylviag Aug 17, 2008 05:50 PM

                      Some of the best gnocci we've ever had is at Cucina Forte. The owner is famous for her gnocci; deservedly so. Get it with the cheese sauce.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sylviag
                        Bigley9 Aug 18, 2008 07:33 AM

                        I second that sylviag!

                      2. l
                        lcool Aug 17, 2008 08:20 AM

                        When Andrew at MAJOLICA ,in Phoenixville,Pa makes gnocci it is fabulous.May be a bit far from Philly to qualify geographicaly.

                        1. mschow Aug 17, 2008 07:11 AM

                          Good posting; I adore gnocchi, when it is done right. I think it should be light and airy, and agree there is nothing worse than biting into it to find it is heavy and doughy. Then it sits in your stomach like a rock. I think Panorama has excellent gnocchi; it is made at the restaurant.
                          In case you are ever in NJ and looking to purchase some; there is a store in Cinnamonson called Georgettis where they make all their own pasta (and all types of frozen take out meals). They have excellent gnocchi that you can purchase frozen. Their cheese gnocchi is absolutely delicious and very light. They cook in just a few minutes. I love gnocchi with just a bit of good olive oil, butter, freshly grated locatelli and black pepper. Or maybe a rose sauce. In the winter, a brown butter and fresh sage sauce.
                          Now I feel like I have to go buy some!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mschow
                            SpdRcr069 Sep 26, 2008 08:19 AM

                            I agree with Panorama, by far the best I've had in Philadelphia. Modo Mio had a nice gnocci on their menu, but I think it was a seasonal item.

                          2. b
                            beauxmots Aug 17, 2008 06:40 AM

                            Where in North Wales is that last restaurant, AmblerGirl?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: beauxmots
                              AmblerGirl Aug 17, 2008 06:51 AM

                              Ristorante Castello is on Welsh Road is a fairly large shopping center not too far off Route 309, I think its called Montgomery Commons.

                              1. re: AmblerGirl
                                beauxmots Aug 17, 2008 07:02 AM

                                Ohhhh....North Wales in PA, that explains everything!

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