Thursday, May 29, 2014

Gnocchi alla Romana

Unsure what to cook for dinner tonight? Here is an idea: Gnocchi alla Romana!
These are not the traditional Italian gnocchi made with potatoes, but they are prepared with semolina flour, milk, egg yolks, a touch of nutmeg and lots of cheese. They are tender and with a very delicate flavor. The savor of these gnocchi is in the nutmeg and the cheese. I used Parmesan (obviously!) and a cave aged Gruyere cheese, which has a very distinctive flavor that does not overshadow the taste of other ingredients. I love to use Gruyere cheese, because of its savory but not overpowering taste. And it's a great melting cheese, perfect for baking!
The gnocchi alla romana is an Italian primo piatto, that you can serve before a light meat dinner (secondo piatto), or as a main dish for a more casual dinner. You can top the gnocchi with your best tomato sauce, or serve it next to a green salad. Buon Appetito!

Ingredients for 4-6 servings:
  • 4 cups (32 fl oz) of milk
  • 2 cups of semolina flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg (powder or grated)
  • 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded cave-aged Gruyere cheese, or other savory cheese
  • salt

Preparation time: 45 minutes plus 1 hour (or more) of refrigeration time.

Step 1: In a large saucepan, bring the milk to a light boil, over medium heat. Add the semolina flour to the milk, wishing without stopping to avoid lumps from forming. Add the salt and the nutmeg.

Step 2: Cook over low heat, mixing continuously and carefully scraping the semolina from the sides and bottom of the pan, for about 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is thick enough to pull away from the sides of pan.

Step 3: Remove from heat and incorporate the egg yolks,1 cup of Gruyere and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Save the rest of the Parmesan cheese for the end.
Step 4: Butter or oil a baking sheet large enough - I used an 11x15 in baking sheet. Pour the mixture, and flat it out as even as you can, using a wooden spoon, stir stick or the flat blade of a large knife, to about 1/4 of an inch in thickness.

Step 5: Cover with plastic wrap and let cool down for a minimum of an hour. Note: You can also prepare this the day before and store in the refrigerator for a day!

Step 6: Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Butter the bottom of a oven dish, rectangular or round.  Cut the semolina mixture in as many round shapes as you can. You can use a cookie cutter or a round glass, large or small. Mine have a diameter of 2.75 inches.

Note: If you don't want to throw away the left over mixture, place all of these piece to the bottom of the dish, where nobody will see, and place all the round gnocchi on top.

Step 7: Sprinkle the top with the remaining Parmesan cheese and butter cut in small pieces.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until nicely golden on top.



  1. This is mouthwatering --- I've never seen gnocchi done like this!

  2. These look fantastic! I was surprised to see nutmeg in the list of ingredients, but it sounds enticing!

    1. Thank you! Yes, the nutmeg is a perfect combination with the Parmesan and Gruyere cheese.

  3. HI Manuela, I come from Italy but I live in Montreal and I have an hard time finding the real Semolina for Gnocchi alla Romana which is the bigger grain semolina instead of the semolina flower (fine grain) used for homemaid pasta. I know that at Wall-mart we can find the Bob's Red Mill Semolina and I was wondering if I can use that type of semolina for this recipe … I would like to know which kind of semolina do you use in your recipe … can we use the fine grain semolina ?? thanks for your help ;-) Lara

    1. Ciao Lara!
      I have used Bon's Red Mill semolina flour before... unfortunately here in California it's also all I can find. I gnocchi sono venuti bene! Fammi sapere se provi cosa ne pensi. Buona giornata!

  4. Ciao Manuela, grazie della tua risposta … senz'altro proverò a farli con la "B.Red Mill" … perché non si può rinunciare a mangiare gli gnocchi alla romana … hahaha … ti farò sapere … nella mia ricetta però ci mettevo la metà del semolino che ci hai messo tu … ossia 1 tazza (250 gr) di semolino per un litro di latte … gli altri ingredienti sono nelle stesse quantità ;-) ciao, buona giornata e buoni gnocchi ! Lara

    1. Fammi sapere!! Aggiungi la farina un po' alla volta, e controlla la consistenza! Buoni gnocchi a te ;-)

  5. Ciao Manuela ci tengo a ringraziarti e a dirti che gli gnocchi sono usciti fantastici … mmmh … una bontà; io però ci ho messo la metà del semolino come ero solita farli (ossia 1 tazza di semolino per 1 litro di latte) buonisssimiiiiiii !!! Ciao e complimenti per il tuo sito, Lara

    1. Grazie Lara!! Sei troppo gentile! La prossima volta proverò anch'io a mettere meno semolino... Sei riuscita a tagliarli e spostarli senza che i gnocchi si distruggessero? Sicuramente vengono più morbidi con meno farina. Grazie ancora e buone feste!