The tender little dumplings called gnocchi (pronounced nyo-kee) are said to have originated in the Middle East before showing up in ancient Rome.
Gnocchi may be made with semolina, flour, potatoes, spinach, ricotta or in any combination. The dough is formed, cut, boiled and then topped with a sauce or herbed butter.
These three Long Island restaurants know their gnocchi.
SACRAMONE'S, East Meadow
In her late 80s but still cooking strong, family matriarch Maddalena Sacramone makes this restaurant's meltingly good gnocchi, which is served with a homestyle tomato ragu. Clearly, mama knows best.
MASCALI, East Northport
Chef-owner Jim Bancheri features gnocchi Bolognese -- light semolina dumplings -- in a hearty tomato-based meat sauce.
CIRO'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT, King's Park and Hauppauge
At these Italian restaurants, the tender gnocchi may be had with virtually any sauce on the menu. One winner is the bright filetto di pomodoro.