Gnocchi all'Amatriciana

Today, March 10, 2011, is a historic day. It marks the five-month anniversary of Armageddon. You can read all the gory details here, but in a nutshell, Armageddon was a conciliation dinner held in my honor (?) at L’Arcangelo following a scathing post I wrote about lunch at this famous restaurant in Rome’s Prati district. For the meal held on 10/10/10, chef Arcangelo Dandini pulled out the big guns and made a dish that never had appeared on his menu. It was called Gnocchi di patate e l’evoluzione del cacio e unto, con dedica alla Sora Lella, in other words gnocchi alla matriciana.

Over these past five months, the gnocchi have become somewhat of an obsession for me and the others who were present at Armageddon. They weren’t on the regular menu, but you could call and order them in advance. Tomorrow, however, they will become a permanent fixture on the menu (Thursdays only!) and they will shake that first wordy monkier and adopt and new one: Il club degli gnocchi alla matriciana della Sora Lella. That is Roman dialect for deliciousness.

If you like gnocchi (and especially if you don’t) I highly recommend a visit to L’Arcangelo any given Thursday. Though gnocchi are served all over the city on this designate day (the origins of this tradition are obscure) very few are any good these days. When I first moved to Rome I just assumed the gnocchi I was eating were always made from scratch from fresh ingredients. But the more I ate, the more their gluey consistency and sheer density made me doubt that what I was eating was, indeed, potatoes, flour, salt and egg. My suspicious were confirmed a couple of years ago when I went to Pasta Fresca Mea to film a segment on the Thursday tradition and was horrified when the main ingredient was dehydrated potato flakes poured from a massive sack. I swear I dry heaved when I saw the “pastaio” pouring them into the mixer. The footage, naturally, was unusable, but worse, these faux-cchi were being made to supply Testaccio’s trattorias. My relationship with gnocchi has been uneasy ever since.

Now back to the matter at hand. The gnocchi at L’Arcangelo are ridiculous. They are silky potato pillows to which a pecorino-rich tomato sauce and its bits of guanciale cling to in a perfect union. They cost €15 a portion (certainly not cheap but when you consider the potato flake shit is priced at €10-12…). I suspect that from tomorrow onwards, a table at lunch and dinner will be quite hard to snag on giovedi’.

Explore related categories:
Carbs · Gastronomic Traditions · Restaurants · Rome & Lazio

20 Comments:


  • You’re killing me! Gnocchi are one of my all time favorite things. I can’t begin to overstate how much I love them. Oddly enough it is what my grandmother and her sister would make every year for our 4th of July picnic and I have been in love ever since. Now I have a reason to return to Rome. If only I could be there tomorrow.


  • I would LOVE to know what those obscure origins of Thursday gnocchi dinners are, but regardless of why today is the day for gnocci in Rome, the fact that it is makes Thursdays my fave day of the week.

    You’ve scared me off of regular gnocchi now!

    Must pay 15 euro. Must eat this.


  • Oh my mouth is watering now! But wouldn’t you know it, we arrive in Rome this year on a Friday, so we will miss it!


  • Gnocchis are my favorite-I never pass them up-good to know Thurs is the day. I’ll be looking forward to them when I return for Christmas


  • All -

    At Katie’s insistence my wife and I went to L’Arcangelo tonight and had the Gnoochi…AMAZING!!! So light and delicious… Do not pass go and do not miss the Gnoochi at LA!


  • I have always wondered about the gnocchi on Thursday tradition.

    I must try theses. They look (and sound) amazing.


  • This dish looks amazing…add L’Arcangelo to the long list of “must eats” on my next visit.


  • oh i remember those dry potato flakes well…. ick

  • Katie

    @Kelly I love gnocchi so very much, too. These are worth a trip!!

    @Natalie those gnocchi you posted on your blog with the “fiocchi di patate” as a main ingredient are SCARY. try these!

    @Engred Guido or I can call and see if they will make them on a Friday for you guys. Can’t guarantee it, but it never hurts to ask!!

    @Nonna mark you’re calendar! i hope to be around when you come back here!!

    @Alan passing go would have been a huge mistake. im glad you got to experience these during your trip. Gnocchi alla matriciana @ L’Arcangelo and carbonara @ Roscioli are two of the best dishes in Rome and you got em!

    @nyc/caribbean ragazza cant seem to figure out the thursday thing with certainly. some have suggested that it just makes sense to have something dense and starchy late in the week. while i agree with that, im not sure that is the real reason gnocchi ended up in the Roman meal canon.

    @mamma parla don’t we have a pizza class on Thursday nite? Maybe we can go at lunch…

    @diana i still gag at the thought.

    @


  • Ew, really–potato flakes? Osvaldo at Mea??? Gross.

    Wonder if the gnocchi we had at Buccone a few Thursdays ago were the real thing.

    Dandini’s gnocchi all’amatriciana are truly amazing, and I am ironically grateful for your personal Armageddon, because if it weren’t for the scathing dispute, they may never have happened.

    Baci al sugo,
    E xx


  • ciao,
    there’s a Roman saying “Giovedì gnocchi, Venerdi pesce e Sabato trippa”

    Catholics were not supposed to eat meat on Fridays (therefore the pesce/fish), so on Thursdays they wanted to have something filling (=gnocchi) and trippa on Saturdays because that was the day when the animals were slaughtered.
    Hope this explains the gnocchi on Thursdays tradition a bit :)

    -Elisa


  • I heard a rumor that the gnocchi is now available on other days of the week. Can you confirm this? I’m desperate to try this wonderful dish, but alas, my trip to Rome won’t extend to a Thurs. Thanks!

  • Katie

    in some places it is, but in the best and traditional spots (L’Arcangelo, for example) they are made fresh for Thursday and occasionally other days upon request.


  • [...] to where I work but none of my local friends are willing to pay that much for gnocchi. However, if Katie Parla thinks it’s worth the price, it must be good.  So instead of choosing to have lunch on my [...]


  • We hopped the bus from Il Centro last night with two young kids in tow on a quest to try this gnocchi. The gnocchi alla matriciana della Sora Lella did not disappoint! Delicious!! Remember that the gnocchi is not actually listed on the menu-you have to ask for it. Also try the suppli which are served with a small nut cluster topped with sardines and are unlike any other suppli we have had yet in Rome. Also, if you have young kid’s in tow, like we did, they have a large glass bowl on the counter filled with cars and motorini which kept our kids occupied the entire dinner so we could enjoy this heavenly food.

    After dinner we used the Parla Food app (download this now!) to lead us a few block away to Gelateria dei Gracchi for some of the best gelato in Rome. Try the Mele e Menta which has bits of mint leaves inside the icy delight!

  • Katie

    that is awesome!! so glad you liked it. for future reference adults are encouraged to play with the toy cars too:) mele e menta sounds divine! so glad you enjoyed the app! if you are up for it a brief review in the app store would be amazing:)


  • Hi Katie! We’ll be arriving in Rome on a Thursday around 12:30 p.m. Is the gnocchi at L’Arcangelo served all day/night? Is that definitely THE best spot to order gnocchi at? Also, what area of Rome is this restaurant located in? Thanks!

  • Katie

    the gnocchi is served lunch and dinner. it is definitely the best spot. no contest. i know “best” is subjective but these are so superior to anything else out there right now. the restaurant is in prati.. you can find more info on my app: http://www.romeforfoodies.com


  • […] even all’amatriciana a dish that food blogger Katie Parla found was particularly perfect at L’Arcangelo. When I can’t get to Rome, you’ll find me poring over a pristine, yet much-used […]


  • […] my gnocchi radar engaged, when I came across L’Arcangelo on Parla Food in 2010, it instantly went on the To Eat […]

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