A crispy gnocchi perfect with a salad, a glass of wine

By Jim Bailey

Gnocchi alla Romana is a completely different type of gnocchi than the one you may be used to, but this is gnocchi none-the-less.

I think you will find this change of Italian pace, refreshing, simple and very flavorful. A great addition to antipasto salad and a glass of vino.

Vegetable oil
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 cup semolina
2 egg yolks, beaten
2 cups grated freshly grated Asiago cheese, or grated Pecorino Romano cheese
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup minced pancetta
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Line the bottom of a 15 x 10-inch square baking pan (or equivalent) with tin foil and generously oil. Heat the milk, salt, nutmeg and pepper in a large saucepan over to a simmer. Do not let boil!

Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and begin whisking or stirring in the semolina in a slow, thin and steady stream. Keep whisking diligently to prevent lumps from forming.

Cook, stirring frequently, until it is thick enough for a spoon to stand up in it (much like how we Yankees like our coffee). This will take 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until very thick, about 4 to 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat and add the egg yolks, 1 cup of the cheese and 2 tablespoons butter until butter is melted throughout.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan and smooth out the top. Refrigerate, uncovered, until cold, about an hour.

Preheat oven to 425-degrees F. Flip the cooled mixture onto a cutting board or surface, peel off the foil and cut out the gnocchi with a 2-inch round cookie cutter.

Arrange in a shallow baking dish. Melt the remaining butter and drizzle over gnocchi, sprinkle with remaining cheese and minced pancetta. Toss mozzarella cheese over the top and bake until the tops of gnocchi are crisp and golden, about 20 minutes.

Serve immediately.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at theyankeechef@aol.com.

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