The word gnocchi means "lump" or "knot" and is originally a Germanic word that may describe the distinctive shape of gnocchi. And just like most of Italian cooking, these delicious lumps do not just vary from region to region, but from household to household as well, depending upon what is available. However, the most common way to prepare gnocchi is to combine potatoes (boiled, peeled and mashed) with flour to form soft bite-size lumps of dough. Each gnocco is then ridged along one side like a seashell; this gives the sauce a surface to cling to when eating. Gnocchi also come in different sizes, with gnocchetti being the smallest version.
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