Roman gnocchi

Roman gnocchi can be prepared a day or two in advance, wrapped and stored in the refigerator in the slab form or as circles. Roman gnocchi are made with semolina and are quite different from the more well-known potato gnocchi served with pasta sauce. Gnocchi are eaten as a first course (primo piatto), as an alternative to soups (minestre) or pasta. They are generally home-made in Italian and diaspora Italian households. They may also be bought fresh from speciality stores. In supermarkets, industrially produced packaged gnocchi are widely available refrigerated, dried, or frozen. Common accompaniments of gnocchi include melted butter with sage, pesto, and various sauces.

Ingredients:

(serves 4)

45 g  unsalted butter, melted

35 g grated parmesan cheese

3 egg yolks

1 litre milk

pinch of ground nutmeg

200 g semolina flour

For topping

40 g butter, melted

80 ml double cream

35 g grated parmesan cheese

Roman Gnocchi

Preparation:

Line 30 x 25 cm Swiss roll tin with baking paper. Beat together the butter, parmesan cheeseand egg yolks and season lightly. Set aside.

heat the milk in a large saucepan. Add the nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. When the milk is just boiling, pour in the semolina in a steady stream, stirring as you pour. Reduce the heat and continue to cook, stirring, for about 10-12 minutes, or until all the milk has been absorbed and the mixture pulls away from the side of the pan in one mass.

Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the egg yolk mixture. When smooth, spoon quickly into the Swiss roll tin. Smooth the surface to give an even thickness, using a knife dipped in cold water. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 25 x 18 cm shallow casserole or baking tray.

Lift the semolina slab out of the tin and peel of the baking paper. Cut the semolina into circles, using a 4 cm biscuit cutter dipped in cold water. Arrange the circles, slightly overlapping, in the greased casserole.

To make the topping, blend together the butter and cream. Pour this over the gnocchi and sprinkle the parmesan on top. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden. Serve at once.

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