About this recipe:This is a quick and easy version of the classic "Gnocchi alla romana" dish from the Italian capital. The gnocchi are made out of fine semolina, butter, milk and fresh herbs. Instead of boiling, the fresh gnocchi are baked with a rich cheese sauce. So good!
For the gnocchi
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste
250g fine semolina
3 sage leaves, finely chopped
1 sprig parsley, finely chopped
5 basil leaves, finely chopped
1 sprig thyme, finely chopped
1 pinch nutmeg
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk
butter and breadcrumbs for the baking dish
For the sauce
1/2 teaspoon potato starch
50g fresh sheep cheese, such as Pecorino
1 knob butter
5 tablespoons grated aged Pecorino cheese
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Method Prep:30min › Cook:20min › Ready in:50min
Make the gnocchi
Heat the milk, 30g butter, bay leaf and a pinch of salt in a saucepan over medium heat.
When it starts to boil, remove and discard the bay leaf; sprinkle in the semolina flour, stirring with a whisk to prevent lumps. Keep stirring and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Stir finely chopped herbs, nutmeg, grated Parmesan and egg yolk into the semolina mixture.
Preheat oven to 200 C / Gas 6. Grease a baking dish with butter; sprinkle breadcrumbs over the greased dish.
Use an ice cream scoop or spoon to create small balls of gnocchi; arrange in a layer in baking dish.
To make the cheese sauce: Dissolve potato starch in 2 tablespoons of milk; add remaining milk and pour into a saucepan. Stir in fresh cheese and butter; cook on low heat for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring continuously to make a smooth sauce.
Pour the sauce over the gnocchi, dot with some butter and sprinkle with aged Pecorino cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is golden and crisp.
Replace the fresh Pecorino cheese with any kind of soft cheese, even blue cheese or Italian gorgonzola for a sharper taste. As an alternative, serve with a simple butter and sage sauce.