/Gnocchi Thursday

Gnocchi Thursday


Roman cuisine, by and large, remains very close to its roots. Even in the age of supermarkets and with an increased demand for the exotic and convenient, the city’s gastronomic traditions waver little. Historically, certain days of the week have been designated sacred to specific ingredients. Friday one eats baccala’ (cod); Saturday is for trippa; Thursday is gnocchi day.

Many trattorie in town still serve homemade gnocchi (potato dumplings), with a bit of tomato and basil, the sauce left over from cooking involtini, polpette, or spezzatino. When I am in the mood for my Thursday fix, I head to Piperno. This strategy works for a couple of reasons: their gnocchi are pretty damn good and it’s only a short bike ride for a starch-induced nap and dreams of Saturday’s offal.

Ristorante Piperno
Monte dé Cenci, 9
+39 06 68806629

2016-01-07T14:37:32+00:00 November 5th, 2009|Categories: Carbs, Gastronomic Traditions, Restaurants, Rome & Lazio|12 Comments


  1. Hande November 5, 2009 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    I think the Roman gnocchi are made from semolina and not potato..?

  2. Katie November 5, 2009 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    These days, many places in Rome do make gnocchi with semolina rather than potatoes because it is cheaper and less labor intensive than boiling potatoes, peeling them, running them through a ricer, etc But the traditional Roman recipe calls for potatoes and white flour. Worth the extra effort even with the burnt fingers I inevitably end up with!

  3. Tom November 5, 2009 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    Katie, your post made me remember the marketing campaign for Prince pasta: “in Boston’s north end, Wednesday is Prince spaghetti day…Anthonyyy” (yelled out of the window by an Italian-American woman). lol
    As we have 36 days until we leave for Italy, I am following your site religiously so I can put together the ultimate list of places to eat. I will now add La Piazzetta to that list. That plate of gnocchi looks incredible! Grazie!

  4. Katie November 11, 2009 at 11:06 pm - Reply

    For amazing potato gnocchi head to the pasta all’uovo shop in piazza testaccio…or any of the places the restaurants they supply in the neighborhood.

  5. Gnocchi di Patate November 13, 2009 at 1:37 am - Reply

    […] Thursday mornings pasta shops in Rome are abuzz preparing gnocchi di patate (potato gnocchi), the canonical primo of the day. Yesterday I was lucky enough to visit Pasta Fresca Mea in Piazza Testaccio to see how they are […]

  6. giorgia November 15, 2009 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    Hmm, maybe Hande’s right, as the traditional “gnocchi alla romana” aren’t potato dumplings (those are plain gnocchi, popular everywhere in Italy, not just Rome), but something that looks like this: http://micheblog.wordpress.com/2008/12/06/

  7. giorgia November 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    Erm, thanks Katie, but I guess I know what I’m talking about, as I was born and raised in Rome myself 😉

  8. giorgia November 15, 2009 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    Well, “alla Romana” refers to ancient Romans — and as far as I know they didn’t use potatoes in their cuisine as, well, potatoes were introduced in Europe from the Americas from the 16th century onwards… 😉

  9. Katie November 15, 2009 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Hande is right that “gnocchi alla romana” are made with semolina but ROMAN gnocchi are made with potato. for everything you want to know about gnocchi and more, read this post.

  10. Katie November 15, 2009 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    sorry but but gnocchi alla romana is not a roman recipe. it is from the north (most likely piedmont). think about it, what other roman recipe calls for butter and parmesan? if you read the link i added above, you will find a well researched blog post by a certified historian of italian gastronomy. trying to dig out the true history of recipes in rome is no easy task as misnomer and a lack of documentary evidence cloud the process. but that does not stop me from trying! 🙂

  11. Katie November 15, 2009 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Yes the ancient romans did eat the “gnoccho” a big boiled ball of dough. That sounds like a bomba to me. The bite size ones are heavy enough.

    I talk all about the the difference between gnocchi alla romana and gnocchi di patate, as well as the introduction of the potato to rome’s gnocchi recipe in Friday’s blog post. Here is an excerpt:

    “At Pasta Fresca Mea, the gnocchi are made in the traditional Roman fashion, that is, with potatoes and flour (farina di grano tenero). There is often a dispute over what defines a traditional Roman gnoccho. The confusion lies in the fact that the dish gnocchi alla romana is made with flour dumplings baked with butter, milk, and parmesan. This recipe, however, is of northern Italian provenience and the alla romana bit is a misnomer.

    Potatoes have been an ingredient in Rome’s gnocchi recipe for over 200 years. Though potatoes came to Europe from the New World in the 1490s, the humble tuber was largely ignored until the 18th century. By then, they were growing in many fields and trendsetting peasants in the Roman countryside begin incorporating them into their gnocchi recipes. The variety of potatoes that grow in central Italy have a low water and high starch content. That means less flour needs to be added to make dough. Less flour means less gluten, which results in a tender and enticing piece of pasta.”

  12. […] Potato gnocchi are a classic of Roman cooking that have been widely adapted to both Italian and non-Italian menus alike. But there are other […]

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