Gnocchi Alla Romana
Gnocco is a fun word. The first syllable is pronounced like a Spanish ñ in señor. The word means ‘a stupid person’ in colloquial Italian and in my region’s (Emilia Romagna’s) dialect it means ‘a blow,’ usually with a fist. It refers also, of course, to one of the oldest preparations in the history of food. The first recipes with gnocchi are recorded as far back as the thirteenth century.
Gnocchi(the plural of gnocco)is pronounced with a hard c at the end. Here is one of the many versions of this recipe:
Combine milk, 2 Tbsp. butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg in large saucepan. Bring almost to boil. Slowly pour in the semolina, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes until the dough is thick and it pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and cool a bit. Mix in the beaten egg and 3/4 of the cheese.
Oil a smooth work surface. Spread the mixture quickly to an even thickness of 3/8" (1 cm). Cool 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes of cooling, cut the mixture into disks using an oiled round biscuit cutter and re-use the scraps. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese over the disks.
Melt the remaining butter to brush inside a gratin dish. Set the disks inside this dish.
The gnocchi can be made ahead of time, then covered and refrigerated. When you are ready to serve, bake at 375 F. for 30 minutes. Broil until golden and serve hot. This recipe will feed six people and you may want to accompany this dish with a salad or other vegetables. I have personally used soy milk instead of milk and the gnocchi turned out really well.