Gnocchi alla Romana
(Italian baked semolina dumplings)
Gnocchi alla romana are gnocchi, Roman-style. Unlike the more familiar potato gnocchi, these are made out of semolina and are baked with a cheese topping. Owing to its large Italian community, this dish is also found in Argentina.
4 to 6 servings
- Milk -- 3 1/2 cups
- Semolina (see notes) -- 1 cup
- Grated Parmesan cheese -- 3/4 cup
- Egg yolks -- 3
- Butter -- 2 tablespoons
- Salt -- 1 teaspoon
- Grated Parmesan cheese -- 1/4 cup
- Butter -- 1 tablespoon
- Add the milk to a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium flame. Stirring constantly, slowly sprinkle the semolina into the simmering milk. When all the semolina is added, reduce heat to low and continue stirring for 15 to 20 more minutes, taking care not to let it scorch on the bottom of the pot.
- Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese. When the cheese is completely melted in, beat in the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of the butter and salt. Taste a small amount and add adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Pour the cheesy semolina onto a large cutting board that has been lightly oiled or moistened with water. Spread with moistened hands to about 1/2-inch thick and set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a biscuit cutter or medium-sized glass, cut the cooled semolina into 2 or 3-inch rounds. Place the rounds in an overlapping, shingle-like pattern in a large, well buttered baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over the top of the semolina rounds and dot with remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Set the baking dish in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through and top is browned. Place briefly under the broiler if necessary to brown the dish nicely.
Gnocchi alla Romana Variations
- Semolina is coarsely ground durum wheat. You can substitute Cream of Wheat cereal or farina.
- Half of the initial Parmesan cheese can be replaced with shredded mozzarella.
- Sprinkle in a few gratings of nutmeg if you like.
- Semolina Croquettes: Save the semolina scraps leftover after cutting the rounds. They can be shaped into croquettes, rolled in breadcrumbs and sauteed in butter or oil until light brown and crispy. Serve as you would potatoes.