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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Trader Giotto's Gnocchi al Gorgonzola

Unfortunately, I've never had the pleasure of trying gnocchi from an Italian restaurant. Maggiano's, Buca di Beppo, Olive Garden—been to them all numerous times and I'm not even sure if they sell gnocchi, honestly. Probably better off trying it from a mom and pop's place rather than any of those chains, anyway. I would have sampled it long ago if someone would have drawn my attention to it. 

But as far as I can recollect, the only gnocchi I've ever had has been from Trader Joe's. Frozen grocery store fare is the extent of my experiential knowledge of the subject. To wit, I'm no expert. Sonia's got a slightly better reference point since she's had a gnocchi dish or two in some elegant Los Angeles eatery, the name of which escapes her, before we ever met.

At this fine, nameless Italian establishment, she recalls the gnocchi being "puffy," "fluffy," and nearly "airy." She thinks it tasted and felt primarily potato-based, possibly with some egg. The pasta here, while it does contain potato, is doughy, dense, and slightly chewy. The primary ingredient is durum wheat semolina. It's not unappetizing by any means. It's certainly not "rubbery"—nor would we use the word "gummy." Chewy? Yes. A little.

In my relative ignorance, I happily chomped away on the dish, thinking the texture was just fine. It wasn't hard to overlook its imperfections, because the cheese sauce stole the show. It wasn't an intense flavor, but it was complex, creamy, and savory. If you like fancy Italian cheeses, this easy-to-prepare pasta dish is worth a looksee just to sample a bit of this gourmet gorgonzola.

If only because of my subliminal repulsion to fungi, I probably would have enjoyed the cheese significantly less had I been cognizant of the fact that gorgonzola is a type of "blue cheese," i.e., it's made with veins of blue-green mold growing through it. There's no indication of its mold-factor when looking at the odd, angular chunks of frozen cheese that come in this bag. They're just a solid, creamy off-white. 

Since the cover art on the packaging does approximate the actual look of the final product—minus those weird dark flecks of god-knows-what on top, I opted to show you what it looks like straight out of the freezer. Those big bricks melt and seamlessly coat each piece of gnocchi by the end of the preparation process.

Tasty cheese. Pasta that doesn't exactly melt in the mouth. Super easy prep. $2.99. We're looking at about four stars from me on Trader Giotto's Gnocchi al Gorgonzola. Put Sonia down for three and a half.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.


  1. I thought you tried the chocolate gnocchi dessert they came out with last Christmas. That was awful in my opinion. I cooked it on the stove according to the directions, and it stuck. It also tasted distinctly like potato, and paired with chocolate, was. not the best. We even scooped up some TJ vanilla ice cream to go with it, but it was not a vast improvement.

  2. I think the Gorgonzola is blended in the white sauce bits. It might pair well with beef.

  3. Love this one. It's a repeat buy for me.

  4. What is not spelled out int he instructions, is that to get eh best results you need to do the following.

    Seperate the gnocchi and the sauce. Brown the gnocchi in some olive oil. Do it slowly to avoid burning. Then add the sauce and mix together as the sauce melts.

    It really makes this whole dish. Gnocchi is always cooked like that and not doing that step can make the whole dish very doughy and heavy feeling.

  5. I knew that Gorgonzola is blue cheese and therefore that I will not try this. One bad experience with blue cheese many years ago and that was it. Never again.

    I once made sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter and sage. Now that was good stuff.

  6. The dark flecks are probably freshly ground black pepper.

  7. Do not cook it it the microwave. You end up w gnocchi marbles


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