Gnocchi recipes known as Italian little dumplings in one form or another have been made since Roman times.
In Italy dumplings are called gnoh-key and are traditionally made with potato or ricotta cheese. The ones made with ricotta are often called gnocchetti.
Creamy and softer than those with potatoes. They contain ricotta, flour, salt and many recipes contain some Parmiggiano Reggiano as well, other additions can be spinach or minced herbs. Simpler sauces as butter and cheese or tomato sauces work best with ricotta type.
Rome's specialty made with semolina, milk and butter. They're usually baked with butter and cheese, so there's no need to sauce them.
At one time, the most basic recipe for this Italian dumpling called for just flour and water. Today, not much has changed and Italians are still keep doing most of the work by hand, then they boil them until tender, and serve with sauce.
Several kinds are made in Italy, however potato type began to gain wide culinary acceptance and have since become the dominant kind of Italian dumpling. They range from the very delicate and light, such as the ricotta type, with a tomato-basil sauce, to the more substantial potato type served with meat sauce.
Making them is like making fresh pasta and it takes trial and error to understand the proper consistency of the dough. It must be soft yet not wet. The best way to learn is to go ahead and cook several tests.