Is Gnocchi Pasta or Potato? And Other Common Italian Cuisine Questions

Italian cuisine has a rich and diverse history. Some of the earliest recorded Italian cuisine dates to ancient Rome. Then meals centered around bread, wine, and olive oil. (But who are we kidding, it still is!) The Romans also introduced a variety of spices and herbs, such as oregano and sage, which are still commonly used in Italian cooking today.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Italian immigrants brought their cuisine to other parts of the world, including the United States. Here Italian American cuisine became a popular and distinct culinary tradition. Still, we get questions about Italian cuisine, especially from those unfamiliar with its roots.

Frequently Asked Italian Cuisine Questions

Ever wondered or asked some of these questions? Well, now you can get some answers.

Is gnocchi pasta or potato?

It’s actually both! Gnocchi (pronounced: nyow · kee) is a type of pasta dumpling, typically made from eggs, flour/wheat, and potatoes. They are unique and hearty. Its rich history tells the tale of handmade food made with care. Many regions have their own variations. Ours is made from scratch using our own Neapolitan family recipe.

Are marinara and spaghetti sauces different?

While similar, they are not the same. Marinara sauce is a simple tomato-based sauce that typically includes garlic, onions, and herbs. On the other hand, spaghetti sauce can refer to various sauces served with spaghetti, including tomato-based, meat, and cream-based sauces. Think of marinara sauce as a simple sauce with the least amount of ingredients.

Is spaghetti actually Italian?

Speaking of spaghetti, does it actually have roots in Italy? As a typical dish in America, you might think it didn’t, but it does. Spaghetti is an Italian pasta traditionally made from durum wheat semolina. However, spaghetti sauce wasn’t introduced much later. Instead, the pasta was most likely eaten with cheese and butter.

Are gelato and ice cream the same thing?

Gelato is a traditional Italian frozen dessert with milk, sugar, and flavorings. It has a lower fat content than ice cream and is churned at a slower speed, which gives it a denser, creamier texture. On the other hand, ice cream is typically made with cream, sugar, and flavorings and churned faster, giving it a lighter, fluffier texture.

Is risotto a type of rice?

No, risotto is a dish made of rice. But the difference is the type of rice. Risotto is made by cooking Arborio or Carnaroli rice in broth until it becomes creamy and tender. Regular rice, on the other hand, is typically cooked by boiling or steaming.

Are tomatoes fruits or vegetables?

Tomato is a fruit, but it is often classified as a vegetable in culinary contexts due to its savory flavor. Botanically speaking, a tomato is a berry. Berries are fruits that have multiple seeds embedded inside the pulp. So, one could say they get their fruits and vegetables in when having a veggie pizza!

Have Authentic Italian Cusine at Spizzico

We celebrate Italian cuisine worldwide for its diverse flavors, ingredients, and techniques. Italian cuisine continues to evolve and inspire from classic dishes like pasta carbonara and Margherita pizza to modern interpretations and fusion dishes. Spizzico makes it easy to try new and exciting dishes while still enjoying your old favorites. Visit Spizzico Italian Kitchen to enjoy authentic Italian food today.