My youngest loves gnocchi, so I wanted to attempt to make her some from scratch. Yes, it just wasn't going to be for her alone. While I was looking up gnocchi recipes I came across "Gnocchi alla Romana". These are gnocchi made with semolina and not potato. I always thought that gnocchi were just made with potato. I was intrigued. The potato gnocchi can seem a bit heavy. Just with that last sentence, I answered my question about there being different types of gnocchi because I had labeled those gnocchi as potato.
It just so happens that potato gnocchi are more of a newer version of a gnocchi. They've only been around since the 16th century (only : ) ), thanks to the introduction of the potato in Europe. Prior to that they'd been made from flour and water and semolina. So depending on where you lived in Italy the dish could be made of potato or semolina.
Alla Romana translates into "Roman style". From what I read, it seems that they originated in Rome. It is made with ingredients that would readily have been on hand in any Roman kitchen, semolina, eggs, milk, butter, and cheese. So this could have been a budget friendly meal back in those days. I would even consider it budget friendly today, depending of course on the cheese you use.
Semolina flour is available in the supermarket. I found it in the natural food section of my supermarket. I had purchased it months ago because I needed the flour for rolls I had made for my "Falafel Burgers". I keep it fresh by keeping it in the freezer.
Ingredients (Slightly modified from Epicurious.com)
- 3 Cups milk (I used whole)
- 1 Cup Semolina
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 Cup butter melted and 2 Tbl butter
- 1 cup shredded Italian cheese such as Parmesan. I used a mixture of Asiago, Romano, Parmesan and Mozzarella. (You will also need some extra cheese to sprinkle on top of the gnocchi before they go in the oven.
- 1 egg
- Dash of nutmeg
- 1/3 Cup half and half
In a small bowl beat the egg with a fork. Then add the egg to the mixture and stir to incorporate.
Place in the fridge covered, to cool for one hour. At this point if you want to prepare the dish ahead of time you can leave it until the next day.
After the hour, take a 2 inch round biscuit cutter or glass and cut out circles. Lay them on top of each other in a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
Then, sprinkle more parmesan cheese over the gnocchi.