A gnocchi board or cavarola board is a specialized tool for shaping gnocchi or cavatelli, the handmade Italian pasta dumplings. Once you’ve cut the dumplings, use your index and middle fingers to roll each piece of dough along the board, pressing as you go. This creates depressions from your fingertips on one side and a decorative embossed pattern from the board on the other, both of which help to hold sauce.
If you don’t have a specialized tool, there are a few other options. You can use the tines of a dinner fork, holding it at a 90 degree angle with the tips of the tines touching the work surface. Roll the pieces of dough down the tines to create a depression on one side and a pattern on the other.
Or for a different pattern, try a flat or hand grater. If you go this route, be sure to roll in the opposite direction you’d go in if you were shredding!
Lastly, you can skip creating the pattern and just create the depression by pressing your index and middle fingers into the piece of dough and rolling it toward you. A wood surface is best, as it creates a slightly rough exterior on the cavatelli, good for getting sauce to adhere.