Cinnamon Butter Gnocchi: Carnival Recipe from Veneto.
Carnival is fast approaching here in Italy and with it comes some wonderful typical Italian foods, like this unbelievably scrumptious cinnamon butter gnocchi recipe from Veneto, where I live.
Gnocchi con burro, zucchero e cannella.
Probably the most famous Italian carnival celebrations are held in Venice. I’m lucky enough to live only one hour away. Most years, I go there to not only join in the revelry, but to also take photos. Venice carnival is a fabulous photo opportunity! However, carnival is celebrated throughout Italy! Almost every town and village holds carnival celebrations which often include colourful float parades and costumes. And, of course, stalls selling traditional carnival fare such as this gnocchi carnival recipe.
Carnival in Italy.
Most typical Italian carnival recipes are sweet! Even normally savoury food is sweetened like this cinnamon butter gnocchi. I guess because carnival is traditionally a period of indulgence immediately prior to Lent.
Although official carnival celebrations start on a Sunday (this year March 3rd). The beginning of carnival is often celebrated on the Thursday before known as ‘Giovedi grasso’, meaning fat Thursday.
The last day of carnival is martedi grasso (mardi gras or fat Tuesday.) These 2 days are called ‘fat’ because in the past people ate in abundance, using up all the stocks of foods, such as meat, which was stored at home, before starting a period of fasting.
Different versions of cinnamon butter gnocchi.
This recipe for cinnamon butter gnocchi dates back to the Renaissance and is a traditional carnival dish in Veneto. In Italian, it is also known as gnocchi alla Veneta. There are a number of versions of this recipe in different parts of the region. This one is the simplest.
In many places, they add grated cheese such as Parmigiano Reggiano. In others, they include raisins. I made this dish without either. But, you can add them if you like the idea! There is also a version called gnocchi alla Polesana in which the gnocchi are usually made with sweet potatoes.
I recently ate cinnamon butter gnocchi with a tomato sauce at a friend’s house. This was amazing! Our host, a great cook, gave us some rather thick homemade tomato sauce to mix with the gnocchi once it was plated. Another idea worth trying for yourself! On that occasion, we ate the cinnamon butter gnocchi as a starter (primo in Italian). This is the traditional way, but you can also eat this gnocchi carnival recipe as dessert!
Making this cinnamon butter gnocchi
To make this cinnamon butter gnocchi, you will need potato gnocchi. If you wish to make your own, you can see the recipe here. The sauce is simply melted butter with cinnamon. When you plate the gnocchi you just need to sprinkle on some brown sugar!
Cinnamon butter gnocchi may sound unusual to you, but I promise you it is absolutely Amazing with a capital A! I am sure that if you try it, you will think the same!
If you do try this cinnamon butter gnocchi carnival recipe, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.
Your feedback means a lot to me!
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In this traditional carnival recipe from Veneto, Northern Italy, potato gnocchi are tossed in cinnamon butter and sprinkled with brown sugar. Divinely delicious and easy to make!
- 400-500 g gnocchi (14-17oz) If you want to make your own see my recipe
- 120 g butter (4oz)
- 50 g brown sugar (2oz)
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon (flat tablespoon)
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks (used for decoration)
- 50 g Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana (2oz) optional
If you are making homemade gnocchi you will need to make them first.
Put a pot of water on to boil for the gnocchi. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again.
Melt the butter in a pan that is big enough to hold the cooked gnocchi too. Once the butter has melted add the ground cinnamon and stir until you have a smooth sauce.
Cook the gnocchi in the boiling water (fresh gnocchi take only 2-3 minutes depending on the size) They are ready when they rise to the surface.
Once the gnocchi rise to the surface of the water, drain them with a slotted spoon and place them in the pan with butter and cinnamon. Mix together and plate
Sprinkle with brown sugar just before serving. Add grated cheese if required. I decorated with a piece of cinnamon stick.
This recipe can also be made with pumpkin or sweet potato gnocchi. In some parts of Veneto they also add raisins.