These semolina gnocchi from Rome are rich but light and a real melt in your mouth treat!
- 1 Lt milk
- 250 g semolina
- 100 g butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 75 g Parmigiano Reggiano grated
- 50 g Pecorino Romano grated
- salt a pinch
- nutmeg grated, a pinch
Begin by pouring the milk into a saucepan and adding half the butter cut into pieces and a pinch of grated nutmeg and salt.
Bring the milk to a simmer and when the butter has melted, shower the semolina into the milk (in Italian they say a poggia or ‘like rain’), whisking as you go to avoid lumps.
The mixture will quickly thicken and become increasingly difficult to whisk. At this point, lower the heat and swap the whisk for a wooden spoon. Continue to stir vigorously to prevent lumps forming.
Keep cooking the semolina until the mixture becomes quite stiff and elastic and begins to pull cleanly away from the sides of the pan (stirring all the time, of course)
Remove the mixture from the heat. Add in the parmigiano and mix well. Add the egg yolks and mix them in well too.
Turn the hot dough out onto a buttered or oiled baking sheet or into a large rectangular pyrex dish and spread it out in an even 1cm thick layer. Wetting whatever tool you are using, will make this easier (clean hands, a spatula, the flat side of a large spoon)
Cover and allow the dough to cool at room temperature or in the fridge, which takes about 30 to 40 minutes. You can also do this a day ahead and keep the baking sheet in the refrigerator overnight.
Use a round 5-6cm cutter to cut out circles of the semolina dough (a glass or even a cookie cutter with another shape will work). I used a wine glass!! Once again, it helps to wet the tool you use to prevent the dough sticking to it.
Place the dough circles in slightly overlapping lines in a buttered or oiled baking or gratin dish. (see the photos on the post)
Melt the rest of the butter in a saucepan. Allow it to cool slightly and then pour it over the dough circles.
Sprinkle generously with grated pecorino (or more parmigiano) and bake in a preheated oven 200° or under the grill until the gnocchi are nicely browned.
Let the gnocchi rest for a few minutes and then serve in the baking dish.
These gnocchi are delicious as a starter or eaten as a main course along with a green salad!
Preparation time includes allowing the dough to cool in the fridge.
Some Italians shape the hot dough into a roll and roll it up in baking paper. When the dough is cooled they cut the roll into 1cm slices. This method produces no scraps but I think is harder to do!
You can save the scraps of dough and deep fry them for a snack or to make a mini version of this dish. The scraps aren't uniform like the circles, but they can be rolled into croquettes and taste just as good as the gnocchi.