These Roman-style gnocchi aren’t the usual potato, ricotta, or squash kind. This recipe is for flat semolina gnocchi that is baked and served with a red sauce. With a glass of red wine, delicious!
Gnocchi Alla Romana
Recipe from: Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson
5 ½ cups milk
¾ c. finely chopped dry packed sun-dried tomatoes
3 cups semolina flour
½ cup unsalted butter
1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
6 egg yolks
1 ½ tsp. fine grain sea salt
3 c. bright red tomato sauce (see below)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, clear a lot of counter space, and slather 2 9×13 baking dishes with butter.
Combine the milk and sun dried tomatoes in a large saucepan over medium heat, bring to a simmer, and simmer gently for 1 to 2 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened and rehydrated a bit. Gradually stir in the semolina flour, mixing until it begins to pull away from the side of the pan; this takes a minute or so. Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in ¼ cup of the butter, ¾ c. of the parmesan, the egg yolks, and the salt. If you let the yolks sit in the hot dough, they will cook and set up so work them in quickly. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
Put a layer of cold water on the countertop – more of a glaze than a puddle.
With wet hands, turn the gnocchi dough out onto the damp counter and spread into a ¾ inch thick slab.
Cut the dough into 1 ½ inch circles with a cookie cutter.
Gather up the scraps and press them out again until all the dough is used up.
If the dough is too tacky to stamp, let it cool for another 10 to 20 minutes.
Use a spatula to lift each gnocchi into the prepared baking dish, slightly overlapping each circle on the previous one – similar to a fanned deck of cards. (Spread between 2 pans – the original recipe called for putting it in one dish but I found that it made way more than our family could eat and cooked a little better when split in two.)
Melt the remaining ¼ c. butter and drizzle it over the gnocchi. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and bake covered for 25 minutes then uncovered for another 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. (Or, cover with plastic wrap and then foil, and then freeze. Thaw in fridge and follow baking instructions above, remembering to remove plastic wrap before baking.)
About 5 minutes before the end of the baking time, warm the tomato sauce. Dust the hot gnocchi with a little more parmesan, cut into individual portions, ladle tomato sauce over each, and serve piping hot.
Bright red tomato sauce
2 tbls. Extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
Combine the olive oil, pepper flakes, garlic and salt in a sauce pan. O
ver medium high heat, sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic begins to take on the slightest bit of color.
Stir in the tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and season with more salt to taste.
Enjoy right away or freeze in a freezer bag for later use. When reheating, simply thaw in the fridge and heat in a sauce pan.
Food for Thought:
I added a pound of spicy turkey Italian sausage with the red sauce, simply because my family enjoys it. Heidi Swanson is my latest favorite cook/blogger. She writes the blog 101 Cookbooks. Her cookbook, Super Natural Cooking, is part of my latest adventure into the world of more organic, whole grain cooking. She offers a lot of practical advice and tips on substituting more natural ingredients for highly processed ones. I am really excited to try more of her recipes.