No one really knows where the name comes from (although some believe it might be a corruption of the ancient Longobard knohhil meaning wood knot).
But everyone in Italy knows what it looks and tastes like: gnocco fritto (above).
Literally, it means fried dumpling, like the gnocchi (plural) or dumplings that you simmer and served topped with your favorite sauce.
But technically, the term is more akin to what we today call fried dough in the U.S. (similar to the pizza fritta or fried pizza [dough] that you find at Italian-American festivals in the U.S.).
In Emilia where Lambrusco is made, gnocco fritto is always served piping hot, right out of the frier.
It can be paired with salumi, thinly sliced prosciutto or mortadella, and even with a slathering of rendered lard.
The thing about gnocco fritto is that the serving temperature helps to liquify the fat in the cured pork, thus drawing out its flavor and giving it an even more decadent texture.
It’s one of the greatest and most canonical pairings for Lambrusco: The freshness of the wine, it gentle acidity, bubbles, and restrained sweetness make the salty rich flavors of the dough and the meat sing on your palate.
Gnocco fritto is one of the things we miss the most about Emilia. What do you miss? #IMissItaly #IMissEmilia