Brought to you by Parmigiano Reggiano
Soft, pillowy morsels coupled with a silky sauce are what every gnocchi lover looks forward to when ordering this traditional Italian dish. Though known for being finicky, gnocchi is very versatile, as it can be made using polenta, ricotta, potatoes or semolina. As long as it’s prepared with care and perfectly cooked, you can’t go wrong. Here are seven great restaurants for piping hot and moreish gnocchi in South Africa.
Café Del Sol Classico (Olivedale, Johannesburg)
This Jozi staple (with newer branches in Parkhurst and Bryanston) doesn’t fail to satisfy with various gnocchi dishes on the menu. The current winter bestseller at the original Cafe del Sol is the ‘S’ Wonderful: home-made gnocchi served with roasted pulled lamb, parsnips, spring chives and a creamy lamb jus (R155); the Al Salmone e Vodka also comes highly recommended, which sees gnocchi topped with a salmon, vodka and Napoletana sauce, leeks and asparagus (R130). Else go for the signature gnocchi dish (available at all branches), which is served with a dolcelatte gorgonzola cream sauce and walnuts (R149).
The Cousins (City Bowl, Cape Town)
This authentic Italian spot is perhaps best known for its signature pasta, The Cousins, which is served with tagliatelle. However, the gnocchi dishes here also demand a special visit, arriving with Bolognese (R105), pesto (R98) or a cream-and-mushroom sauce (R98). The winner, however, has to be the piquant gnocchi gorgonzola dish, in which home-made gnocchi are draped in a steaming sauce of gorgonzola cheese, fresh cream, roasted pecan nuts and white wine (R112). You’ll be sure sure to clean your plate.
The Glenwood Restaurant (Glenwood, Durban)
The simplicity of the home-made potato gnocchi (R75) here, served with peas and bacon, allows each component to shine. That it’s made with fresh and high-quality ingredients is a big plus. You won’t regret stopping in at this cosy spot.
La Fiamma (Faerie Glen, Pretoria)
Tradition is the name of the game at La Fiamma, with this home-made gnocchi recipe handed down from the owner’s grandmother, who got it from her mother before her. Made the old-fashioned way, with a pinch of nutmeg, these pillows come served with one of three sauces: Napoletana, a three-cheese sauce (gorgonzola, mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano), or sage butter. The latter is recommended by the chef for a simple but complex flavour.
Mama Cucina (Riebeek Kasteel)
This gnocchi is messy but worth it. Topped by an understated exotic mushroom sauce, beef fillet and tenderstem broccoli (R175), it’s no wonder the gnocchi is a favourite with locals and tourists alike.
Mastrantonio (Illovo, Johannesburg)
Order gnocchi at this popular spot with your choice of sauce made with seasonal and fresh ingredients. Variations include two house specialities of spicy arrabbiata sauce and traditional salsa al pomodoro, as well as meaty ragù, quattro formaggi (four cheese) and burro e salvia (butter and sage), all at R95 each.
Pane e Vino (Stellenbosch)
This Winelands gem offers something different that’s low in carbs and delicious. Pane e Vino makes gnocchi with spinach and fresh ricotta. The plump cushions are boiled masterfully to prevent dissolving, before laid to rest on your plate and dressed in melted butter, Parmigiano Reggiano, and a drizzle of white truffle oil (R98).
Brought to you by Parmigiano Reggiano
The perfect partner to any pasta dish, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, the only Parmesan, is a firm, nutty cheese with a flaky, slightly granular texture. It is still hand-made today by artisans just as it was nine centuries ago. It also undergoes a natural ageing process that lasts a minimum of 12 months. Produced primarily in the Parma, Reggio Emilia and Modena regions of Italy, as well as the Mantua on the right bank of the river Po and Bologna on the left side of the river Reno, its name is protected with a Protected Designation of Origin. Look out for the Parmigiano Reggiano insignia to confirm its authenticity. Parmigiano Reggiano is sold at Woolworths stores nationwide.