Know Your Gnocchi

Gnocchi is a staple in Italian cuisine. And while gnocchi dumplings are typically made from potato, this version utilizes semolina flour, the original ingredient for gnocchi, as potatoes are not even native to Italy. This traditional recipe for Gnocchi alla Romana comes from chef Daniel Boulud and its wonderful cream sauce is a classic comfort food for a winter’s night meal while the fresh green asparagus and peas are a welcome to the spring that is to come.

Gnocchi alla Romana (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1½ cups water
  • Salt
  • 1 cup semolina flour, plus ¼ cup for dusting
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch green asparagus, ends trimmed and discarded, stalks cut into1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup fresh shelled English peas
  • ½ cup cream
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 oz. taleggio cheese (optional)
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon each of fresh parsley, tarragon and chervil, chopped
  • 2 chive stems, cut into ½-inch pieces

 

Preparation

  1. In a medium nonstick sauce pot, combine the milk, water, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt and bring to a simmer. Whisking, stream in the 1cup semolina flour slowly, so that it doesn’t clump. Whisk vigorously for about 20 seconds to incorporate the semolina, then switch to a rubber The mixture will quickly start to thicken.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently with the spatula. When the mixture is very thick and barely sticks to the spatula, remove the pot from the heat and add 4 tablespoons of the butter, the egg and ½ cup Parmesan cheese, stirring until combined.
  3. Transfer the dough to a nonstick cookie sheet and spread to form a rectangle approximately ½ to 1 inch Cool in the refrigerator for 25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium pot set over medium heat, melt the remaining butter and add the Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add a splash of water to keep the leek from caramelizing if necessary.
  5. Add the asparagus and peas and continue cooking for another 4 minutes, covered, seasoning with salt to Add the cream, 3 tablespoons of water, ¼ cup Parmesan and lemon zest. Stir and cook until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Keep warm.
  6. Transfer the cooled dough to a clean work surface dusted with the ¼ cup semolina. Using a round cookie cutter about 2 inches in diameter, cut the gnocchi into disks. Arrange them back on the cookie sheet, layering slightly to form 4 rosettes. Sprinkle the rosettes generously with the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan and the taleggio, if
  7. Set the tray on the bottom rack of the oven and broil until the tops are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Keep warm.
  8. To serve, spread the vegetable cream sauce on a plate and top with the gnocchi rosettes. Garnish with white pepper and herbs as desired.
For a seasonal theme you can use any type of cookie cutter, such as this snowflake pattern for winter!

Special Note: Feature Image for this blog post courtesy of Nimrod Oren at Pixabay.