Friday, October 19, 2012

Gnocchi alla Romana

The week is over and I am feeling smug.
I got up at 5:35am and ran a little over 8kms before heading to work.
My son has finally settled into his new pre-K routine.
As he proudly announced on Monday when I picked him up from school, he slept on R's pants.
What he meant was that on his first afternoon there he finally napped on his teacher's lap (after shedding some tears).
Maybe next week he will even be able to stay there for the after-school program so I won't have to go back and forth to pick up the kids four times an afternoon (three of which a moody pre-schooler. You moms hear me, right? You know how long and unpredictable those walks can get, especially when you are on a schedule).
I renewed my ID card at the Town Hall and was the first in line, a once in a lifetime happening. In and out in 5 minutes!
Ok, I admit I had already been there the day before, only to find out I was missing a paper they forgot to tell me about on the phone. But hey, you can't win 'em all.


I voted.
So feeling smug as a bug in a rug, I decided to get into a "thick socks, yoga pants and cup of tea mode" last night, which in the kitchen translates into making gnocchi alla romana, gnocchi made the Roman way, with semolina flour instead of potatoes, lots of butter and grated Parmesan cheese.
The crusty, cheesy exterior gives way to a pillowy-soft inside that warms the heart and soul.

In Italy they are so easy to pick up at the supermarket or any corner gastronomia that people often don't even think about making them at home but the truth is they are much easier and quicker to make than lasagne or cannelloni, they are a great dish for guests because you can prepare them ahead of time and then just bake them when you need them, and they are a good vegetarian option of baked pasta.
So give them a try, you won't be sorry: if you have kids they will have fun helping you make them and will love them too.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
250gr semolina flour
100gr butter
1l milk
150gr Parmesan cheese, grated
2 egg yolks
nutmeg (optional)

Heat the milk with a tablespoon of butter and a  good pinch of salt in large sauce pan (and nutmeg if you like).  When it starts boiling, slowly pour in the semolina and mix constantly with a whisk making sure it doesn't get lumpy. Cook on low heat for a few minutes, until the semolina thickens.
Take the sauce pan off of the stove and mix in the two egg yolks and about 80gr of the grated Parmesan cheese.
Grease or wet a shallow baking pan and spread the mix with a wet knife (I used a frosting knife) or simply spread it onto a damp, clean surface so that it is about 1cm thick  (about 1/2 inch).
Grease a baking dish with butter and preheat your oven to 200° C/400°F. Melt the remaining butter.
Once the semolina  has cooled off, cut out the semolina disks using a small glass, a cookie cutter or an espresso cup. Mine were made a little larger using a ring mold. Place the disks into the baking dish, overlapping them slightly.
When you are done, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, some freshly ground pepper and pour
over the melted butter.
Bake the gnocchi for 20-25 minutes, until they turn golden brown and crusty. Serve immediately.


  1. I'm not sure which I love more; the yoga pants, thick socks and cup of tea (I totally know that mood), or the idea of this. It's baked pasta weather in London at the moment. Can't wait to try these. x

  2. This looks fantastic! A definite do this weekend!

  3. Ohh yes I know the mood you're talking about. Mine also involves borrowing husband's big cosy cashmere sweater... mmmm :) This dish looks totally cosy and delicious... yum, yum, and yum!

  4. Wow! Looks amazing. I am always looking for a good vegetarian recipe that even non-vegetarians would enjoy. This is perfect.

  5. I love these. I made them with my adopted Italian nonna back in my Rome days and R fell in love with them. I'm impressed with your week!!

    1. Oh, I remember those posts with your "nonna"... that is when I started following you I believe. Love the things you cooked up together and the stories you told.

  6. Love gnocchi alla romana! One of my favorite childhood dishes!

  7. I've never seen this type of gnocchi before - it looks delicious!

  8. Well done on getting up so early to go for a run! I'm super-impressed! I love gnocchi but I've never tried it the Roman way before. I'd like to try this xx

  9. This is a recipe Mr. Smith would like!

    1. Yes, I'm sure he would!

  10. I haven't made these in a long while. They're so good... :=)


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