Recipes for gnocchi have been documented back to the 1300's. Gnocchi is more common in Northern Italy but can be found in other regions of Italy as well as other countries. Gnocchi originated about the same time as the ravioli. Germany, Austria and Hungary all adapted versions to their local cuisine.
Chef Norm Van Aken writes about gnocchi in South America:
"In Uruguay and Argentina, where the cuisine is strongly influenced by Italy, there is a curious tradition of unknown origin. They say that if you eat gnocchi on the 29th of each month, you’ll have plenty of cash for the next thirty days. Some people even place their wallets on their laps or put a couple of bills under their plate to encourage the unknown forces at work. Restaurant chefs and housewives invent all kinds of recipes that are intended to aid the spell."
Sauces can be a simple as a topping of Parmesan cheese while other popular choices are include Gorgonzola cream sauce, fresh tomato sauce, olive oil and garlic.
A gnocchi board (gnocchi paddle) is used form the grooves on the gnocchi dumplings. The grooves help sauce to adhere to the surface.
To use the board you simple take your little dumpling, press down with your thumb and roll the dough away from you. Watch the video below for the proper technique. It's one of those things that once you get the hang of it you could do it in your sleep. Well, maybe we don't recommend that.