Gnocchi represents a spectrum of dumpling stye dishes depending upon where you are in Italy, an unpretentious dish traditionally considered part of the pasta course. Gnocchi alla Romana is perhaps less recognized than what many Italians identify with, that being the more well know Potato Gnocchi. Historically, the word gnocchi is said to be derived from the word nocchi meaning a knot in a piece of wood or nocca meaning nuckle, I suppose that gnocchi in some way resembled both of those. The origins of the dish are most likely Middle Eastern and can be traced as far back to the Roman period.
Gnocchi alla Romana as the name implies hails from the Lazio region, with Rome being the capital. These flat discs of polenta or semolina, bathed with butter and baked with a topping of cheese are the essence of comfort food on a cold winter’s night.
Ideal for either entertaining a crowd or an intimate dinner with someone special, Gnocchi alla Romana can be prepared ahead and baked at the last moment. The dish is straightforward and honestly requires little skill. As with anything, simplicity and the highest quality ingredients are the hallmarks here.
Assemble all of you ingredients and equipment before you get started.
A bit a attention to the stirring will result in a smooth consistency, which is essential.
This is the ideal make ahead dish for Giorno di San Valentino along with a tossed salad, bottle of Prosecco or Trento DOC and something decadent to finish off the meal.
If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe below and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram @ labellasorella3.
- 1 quart of organic whole milk
- Freshly grated nutmeg, quanta basta
- 1⅓ cup of either fine semolina or fine polenta
- 2 large organic egg yolks
- 6 Tbs. unsalted butter
- ¾ to 1 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano
- Pinch of sea salt
- Butter a rimmed baking pan and set aside.
- Heat the milk in a medium size sauce pan along with 4 tablespoons of the butter, the grated nutmeg, and a nice pinch of sea salt; bring this to a low simmer
- Add the semolina or polenta in a slow stream, stirring the entire time to avoid any lumps. Continue to stir over medium low heat with a heat proof spatula or wooden spoon for about 10 minutes or until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan.
- Transfer the cooked mixture to a glass or ceramic mixing bowl and add the egg yolks on at a time, followed by ½ cup of the grated Parmigiano - your mixture should be smooth and lump free.
- Spread the mixture onto the buttered pan and smooth using a spatula or damp fingertips to about ½ inch thick. Allow to completely cool and solidify, depending on the room temperature this is generally between 1 and 2 hours.
- Butter a glass or ceramic baking dish. Preheat the oven to 400º.
- Cut the cold semolina/polenta mixture using a 2 inch round cutter or glass. Cut the discs as close together as possible to avoid waste. Place the discs in the butter baking dish, slightly overlapping one another until you are finished. The scraps can be placed in a smaller baking dish and are perfectly wonderful.
- Dot the gnocchi with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and top with Parmigiano. The dish may be covered and refrigerated to use the next day or even frozen at this point.
- Place the baking dish into the preheated oven and bake until the top becomes crisp and the melted butter sizzles - about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.