Friday, June 22, 2007

Presto Pasta Night #17

For this edition of Presto Pasta Night, hosted by Ruth from Once Upon a Feast, I've decided to make gnocchi.

These aren't the traditional potato ones that I've made in the past, these are "Roman Gnocchi" - a speciality of Rome and Lazio. They are made using milk, semolina and egg. This mixture is almost polenta like and once cooked it's spread out onto a tray and left to cool and harden. Circles are then stamped out (a small espresso glass is the usual tool for doing this) and they are then arranged to slightly overlap on a buttered tray.

Parmigiano is sprinkled over along with dots of butter and it's baked until well browned. The finished result are crisp coated discs with soft spongy centres.


Gnocchi Alla Romana

3 cups milk
160 grams fine semolina
1 egg, lightly beaten
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
grated Provolone

Place the milk into a saucepan and bring it to boiling point - sprinkle over the semolina, stirring all the time. Add a pinch of salt and continue to stir until it thickens and starts to come away from the sides of the pot.

Remove from the heat and continue to stir vigourously - so to take some of the heat from the mixture. Add the beaten egg and keep stirring - the mixture will tend to separate but keep beating and it will come back together to form a sticky paste.

Pour this out into a baking paper lined tray - smooth the surface with a palette knife. Let this set until cold - you can put this in the fridge overnight.


Once cold, lift the mixture from the tray using the baking paper and place on a board - use a circle cutter to cut out discs.

Butter a baking dish well and arrange the discs, overlapping slightly to form rows. There's no need to throw away the off-cuts, these can be placed at the bottom of the baking dish and the discs arranged on top.

Sprinkle generously with a mix of Parmigiano and Provolone and dots of softened butter.

Bake in a preheated 200°C/400°F oven until heated through and the cheese has melted and browned.


You can serve them on their own or you could offer them as a side dish to a main meal.

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  1. oh this looks wonderful. i just got up an it's time for breakfast. i could eat some of these right now. it seems to be such a less stressful job that the normal gnocci. will have to try these!

  2. AnonymousJune 22, 2007

    these look amazing! :)

  3. Oh, that looks fabulous! In fact, I think I'll make this tomorrow.

  4. Haalo, this is food porn, I can tell! :D

    How am I ever gonna lose weight if I want to make all the recipes you post... ;)

  5. Thanks Myriam - they are less stressful but beware you'll get a work out with the stirring especially when adding the egg.

    Thanks Sarina!

    Thanks Deinin - hope you enjoy it!

    Thanks Patricia - just a bite shouldn't be a problem ;)

  6. I love the crispy outside, looks tasty!

  7. Oh my! I am truly drooling here! Thanks so much for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights. It's awesome.

  8. AnonymousJune 22, 2007

    Beautiful! I've always wanted to make my own gnocchi. One day!


  9. Haalo, this looks fantastic. I've only had this once, a while back when I was in Italy. Now I can make it myself! Thanks for the recipe & instructions. You are a fantastic cook!

  10. Thanks Brilynn - the crisp exterior accentuates the fluffy interior.

    Thanks Ruth - it's always a pleasure to take part IN PPN

    Thanks Paz - try them when the weather cools.

    Thanks Nora - hopefully they will turn out close to the originals you've had.

  11. These look so delicious.

    I'm not a fan of the usual gnocchi.

    I think these would suit me better. I've seen a recipe in the Women's Weekly Italian cookbook, but i'll try yours, I know I can rely on it:):)

  12. Thanks Karen - I hope you do enjoy these gnocchi, not sure how they compare with the Women's Weekly, it would be interesting to see.

  13. Is there anything that can be used in place of the semolina? That is not something I normally have.


  14. Hi Jennifer - sorry but you can't replace the semolina, without it they just won't work.

  15. I love wet polenta, but I've never been a fan of the set and pan-fried version we often do at college. I'm guessing the coagulation of the egg provides the stability, and makes for a creamier taste too. I've never baked gnocchi before, I normally boil them and serve with a simple sauce. I may well try this, Haalo

  16. Hi Trig - I would never use egg in potato gnocchi but they are a must in this and for this type of gnocchi this is the traditional method of cooking them.

  17. AnonymousJune 27, 2007

    The first time we ate Gnocchi alla Romana was in Venice and I haven't tasted ones as good since. Can you believe that we couldn't actually find any in Rome itself? :)

  18. I can believe that Cin but maybe the chef in Venice was from Lazio ;)

  19. As an accompaniment, I would suggest the following.
    You will need:
    1. Sliced earthy mushrooms of your choice.
    2. A halved tomato.
    3. A healthy amount of Basil (chiffonade)
    4. White truffle oil.
    5. Salt and pepper to taste.

    While the gnocchi is in the oven, saute a few mushrooms with salt and pepper. Once the mushrooms are done, place aside. Re-oil the pan and seer the tomato on the open side until a bit soft (add salt for taste). Once the gnocchi are done, arrange on plate, generously spoon mushroom on top, top with truffle oil, then top with the basil. The seared tomato can be served on the side and eaten in combination with the other ingredients.

    I promises, this is a killer way to serve these awesome gnocchi ala romana!

  20. Thank you Marius for the recipe - sounds delicious!


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