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Gnocci, how to describe it to someone who's never tried it?

tracylee Feb 28, 2009 06:14 PM

We went to a very nice French restaurant last night, and one of the entrees was gnocci, however they'd run out.

I've been trying to describe gnocci to my SO, and he's convinced that it'd be soggy or mushy. I'm having trouble trying to describe it better.

Does anyone have a good way to explain gnocci to someone who hasn't tried it?

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  1. h
    hummingbird RE: tracylee Feb 28, 2009 06:29 PM

    When done well I always describe them as fluffy light pillows of flavor.. Sorry, I know that's sounds corny, but it works for me.

    1. l
      Leonardo RE: tracylee Feb 28, 2009 06:36 PM

      They are just like kreplach!

      4 Replies
      1. re: Leonardo
        tracylee RE: Leonardo Feb 28, 2009 06:59 PM

        Ummm, we're talking about a French-Canadian Mainer - I don't think he's had kreplach!

        Sorry I wasn't more clear about that in my OP.

        1. re: tracylee
          dinaofdoom RE: tracylee Feb 28, 2009 09:32 PM


          1. re: dinaofdoom
            kchurchill5 RE: dinaofdoom Mar 2, 2009 05:57 AM

            Now that I understand.

        2. re: Leonardo
          thew RE: Leonardo Mar 1, 2009 05:32 PM


          kreplach are in teh ravioli school - pasta stuffed with meat

          how is gnocchi anything like that?

        3. alwayscooking RE: tracylee Feb 28, 2009 07:07 PM

          Gnocci - the very best fluffy but someone dense (this is the problem with describing gnocci!), rich, buttery mashed potatoes with a slightest texture of skin (toothniess) - a structure around the richness. One restaurant I know makes theirs in the ref to keep the butter from melting (and it is almost too rich!). And then they cover them with the things you'd want in mashed potatoes or a rich baked potato - a red sauce, a sage butter, or just oil/butter/garlic.

          1. ipsedixit RE: tracylee Feb 28, 2009 10:34 PM

            Given that it's the French iteration, how about "dough balls"?

            Or, the European savory cousin of Taiwanese boba? :-)

            1. Halie RE: tracylee Mar 1, 2009 12:31 AM

              Just make him try them!

              THEN he'll see...

              1. limster RE: tracylee Mar 1, 2009 07:52 AM

                There's also Roman style gnocchi that's a bit different - baked in larger pieces and made with semolina flour instead of potato.

                7 Replies
                1. re: limster
                  tatamagouche RE: limster Mar 1, 2009 11:20 AM

                  There's ricotta gnocchi as well (hi Limster, miss you!).

                  I'm confused, do the French really spell it "gnocci"?

                  1. re: tatamagouche
                    lynnlato RE: tatamagouche Mar 1, 2009 11:29 AM

                    I was wondering this also. I wasn't sure if the OP misspelled it or if this is an alternative spelling that I've never before encountered.

                    I like hummingbird's descriptoin - fluffy, light pillows - although I've had many gnocchi that were very dense and heavy. But I prefer the billowy ones.

                    1. re: lynnlato
                      tracylee RE: lynnlato Mar 1, 2009 04:15 PM

                      yes, my misspelling of the Parisian Gnocchi.


                      1. re: tracylee
                        lynnlato RE: tracylee Mar 1, 2009 05:07 PM

                        Wow, that's looks like an amazing menu. Very nice. I hope dinner tasted as good as it looked on the menu. :)

                        1. re: lynnlato
                          tracylee RE: lynnlato Mar 1, 2009 06:29 PM

                          It was truly fantastic - brought out my limited French as we ordered Pots de Creme for dessert!

                    2. re: tatamagouche
                      Ima Wurdibitsch RE: tatamagouche Mar 2, 2009 06:31 AM

                      I thought the ricotta version was gnudi?

                      I love gnocchi and wanted to try making the gnudi soon... well, as soon as I find the time to make my whole wheat pasta first.

                      1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch
                        tatamagouche RE: Ima Wurdibitsch Mar 2, 2009 09:19 AM

                        You know, honestly, I think technically you're right, although a lot of people do just call gnudi ricotta gnocchi. I guess gnudi are a subset. You can also add ricotta to potato or semolina gnocchi to lighten them a bit...

                  2. c
                    cstr RE: tracylee Mar 1, 2009 07:59 AM

                    He sounds like a big boy, just tell him to try them. If he doesn't like them, you get to finish his dish, everyone wins!

                    1. f
                      fourunder RE: tracylee Mar 1, 2009 08:16 AM

                      I agree with (hummingbird), when done well they are pillows of flavor......when done poorly...they are pasta bubble gum.

                      1. Soop RE: tracylee Mar 2, 2009 03:39 AM

                        potato dumpling. Bit sour.

                        1. f
                          filth RE: tracylee Mar 2, 2009 03:44 AM

                          Pasty, bland nuggets.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: filth
                            tatamagouche RE: filth Mar 2, 2009 05:55 AM

                            They *definitely* shouldn't be that. You've had some bad experiences, I take it.

                            Soop: "sour"?

                            1. re: tatamagouche
                              Soop RE: tatamagouche Mar 2, 2009 06:09 AM

                              Yeah. I had them on their own with a steak once (no sauce) and after a while you do get a kind of sour, acid taste coming through. These were store bought fresh ones.

                              IDK, I don't eat them often.

                            2. re: filth
                              lynnlato RE: filth Mar 2, 2009 06:11 AM

                              Yikes, dude, you've been eating the wrong gnocchi.

                              1. re: lynnlato
                                Soop RE: lynnlato Mar 2, 2009 06:14 AM

                                gnocchi isn't really supposed to be amazing, is it though? I mean it's like bubble and squeak, it's nice enough, but it's essentially leftovers.

                                1. re: Soop
                                  thew RE: Soop Mar 2, 2009 06:34 AM


                                  no leftovers at all. it's a type of pasta, usually made with potatoes eggs and flour. sometimes riccota. sometimes its more of a semolina dumpling. none of those things are leftovers.

                                  1. re: thew
                                    Soop RE: thew Mar 2, 2009 07:03 AM

                                    Oh, sorry I was under the impression that gnocchi were made with leftover mashed potato. And apparantly they don't even always have potato!

                                  2. re: Soop
                                    bnemes3343 RE: Soop Mar 2, 2009 08:16 AM

                                    Good gnocchi is, in fact, amazing. It is far from b&s or leftovers when done properly

                                    1. re: Soop
                                      lynnlato RE: Soop Mar 2, 2009 02:02 PM

                                      I guess amazing is in the eye of the beholder. I always thought of good gnocchi as a special treat. I get excited when I go back home and visit our favorite Italian (american) spot and see them on the menu. I just can't get them anywhere like there. Good sauce, crusty bread, Italian peppers & oil and a bottle of Valpolicella - that's damn good stuff to me.

                                2. n
                                  neverlate RE: tracylee Mar 2, 2009 04:55 AM

                                  The gnocchi I ate were small cut out discs of a mealy textured light dough -- like polenta. The gnocchi were the size of medium sized scallops. One layer deep in a casserole with red sauce and cheese over, then heated till bubbly. Delicious!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: neverlate
                                    limster RE: neverlate Mar 2, 2009 06:03 AM

                                    This sounds like the Roman version.

                                  2. b
                                    bnemes3343 RE: tracylee Mar 2, 2009 05:59 AM

                                    Like eating clouds with incredible flavor (but only when made correctly).

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