Sunday, 12 May 2013

Gnocchi alla Romana

Gnocchi alla Romana, or as it is sometimes known, gnocchi di semolino alla romana, is a very popular Italian dish that is made with semolina flour instead of the potatoes used in the more usual kind of gnocchi widely made in Italy.
Gnocchi in Italian means "lumps", as those gnocchi made from potatoes are definitely lump-like in appearance, but with Gnocchi alla Romama, rather than being lump-like, the gnocchi  are thinnish, relatively smooth disks that have been cut with a pastry cutter from a sheet of cooled dough.
Originally eaten primarily in Rome, where it remains a standard of family kitchens even today, gnocchi alla Romana has now spread throughout Italy.  As with most classical Italian dishes its ingredients are simple, and readily available in many homes even in times of extreme poverty, milk, semolina flour, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and butter, with salt, black pepper, and nutmeg as seasonings.

The Recipe                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
250ml water    
250ml milk                                                                                                              
20g butter
125g coarsely ground semolina
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp grated parmesan

for baking

30g butter , melted
30g parmesan , grated 
pinch  grated nutmeg

Heat the milk and water in a pan  with a good pinch of salt salt and half the butter. When it boils, sprinkle in the semolina, whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Bring the mixture to the boi then. lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture will be very thick.
Remove from heat and beat in the remaining butter, and then the egg yolks, one at a time then stir in the parmesan and season with salt.
Sprinkle a little cold water onto a tray then spread the mixture onto it, in an even layer about 1cm thick. Cool for  around 2 hours.
Heat the oven to 220 centgrade / Gas mark 7.
Butter a shallow baking dish.
Cut the set semolina into small rounds about 6cm round. Put the trimmings in the bottom of the dish. Pour over a little melted butter and sprinkle with parmesan. Cover with a layer of cut-out circles, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle with nutmeg and parmesan, and drizzle with more butter. Continue layering until all the ingredients have been used.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top is browned. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

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