Getting to Know Gnocchi

I am confused about the potato pasta called "gnocchi." I've seen recipes for making it that contain anything from farina to potatoes to flour. Why are there so many variations involved? Also, the end product looks completely different. Please help me figure out this mystery, since we love this pasta. —S.C., Aloha, Oregon

Gnocchi seems to be one of those favorite old recipes that many creative cooks love to put a new twist or spin on. Gnocchi are Italian dumplings traditionally made with potatoes and flour or farina. Eggs and seasonings are added before the dough is shaped into long ropes, cut into small pieces and rolled into balls. The balls are usually rolled over the tines of a fork, cheese grater or a special gnocchi board to make small ridges in the dough. The indentations hold the sauce and help the gnocchi cook faster.