Roman-Style Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla Romana) with Semolina Flour

An easy Italian pasta recipe for an impressive dish that can be prepared in advance for a great dinner with guests! And, as every recipe in my blog, that’s the best Gnocchi alla Romana recipe that I know of, so it’s a keeper!


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Gnocchi alla Romana (pron. nyoh-k-kee uh-L-luh rome-uh-nuh) is a typical italian recipe from Lazio region and especially, as the name suggests it, from the city of Rome.

Gnocchi always scare a lot of people, because it’s said that they’re not easy to make, but these Gnocchi are not like those made with potatoes or ricotta but are made with semolina flour so it’s easier to deal with (have you tried my delicious Potato Gnocchi recipesuper easy even for a newbie!).

Here you just need to cook semolina flour into some milk and then spread the dough over a silpat or a baking paper and leave it too cool before shaping and cooking. Therefore super easy and quick!

best roman style gnocchi semolina

The classic Roman-Style Gnocchi recipe provide for a butter and cheese sauce but they can be served with a delicious Bechamèl sauce, a Mornay Sauce, or a sauce mixed with some ham, bacon or pancetta or with your favourite vegetables. In the dough you can also put some chopped greens such as spinach, nettle, chicory, etc.. So you can use your imagination and customize this dish to your liking!

You can also have fun choosing the form for these Gnocchi alla Romana! In Rome they usually shape gnocchi in circles while outside they use to cut the dough in squares or in rhombus. But nobody forbid you to create these semolina gnocchi in the shape that you want and you can even put the dough into a piping bag with a large tip and make some roses or something like that.

I adapted this recipe from an italian chef called Montersino and I like it because these Gnocchi alla Romana are not tough like others but tender inside with a thin crunchy crust and tastier!

So great results with low efforts! What more?

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Roman-Style Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla Romana) with Semolina Flour

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 5-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 250 gr / 8.8 oz/ 1 1/2 cup semolina flour (or semola rimacinata di grano duro)
  • 1 lt / 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 100 gr / 3.5 oz / 3/4 cup butter (at fridge temperature)
  • 140 gr / 5 oz / 1 3/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese finely grated + more for baking
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • a pinch of nutmeg

romana roman style gnocchi ingredients

Instructions:

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a lightly simmer, then add salt, nutmeg and semolina flour then stir well with a whisk to avoid lumps.
Continue to stir with a wooden spoon and cook for at least 10 minutes, or until it begins to pull away from the sides of the saucepan. The mixture should be like some thick and firm mashed potatoes.

romana roman style gnocchi milk semolina

Remove from heat and add cold butter.

romana roman style gnocchi semolina butter

Add Parmigiano cheese and stir with a wooden spoon until all the butter is melted and absorbed.

romana roman style gnocchi semolina parmigiano

Quickly add the egg and yolks and stir until all is well mixed.

Now you need to choose the shape of your Gnocchi.

(If you want to use a piping bag, immediately put the dough in it because as it cools it will be not so easy to pipe)

Put the dough over a silpat or a baking paper, cover with a cling film or plastic wrap or another silpat and roll with a rolling-pin until it’s flattened to about 1-2 cm / 0.40-0.80 inches.

roman style gnocchi semolina dough

Leave to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

roman style gnocchi semolina flat dough

As you can see from the picture above, I rolled half the dough into a rope to freeze it (I don’t have a big freezer), because the dough was too much for the three of us. Don’t do a rope if you don’t freeze it, because this dough is not tough enough to cut a neat slice. If you freeze the rope-dough, slice it right away when removed from the freezer (and bake as soon as you can).

Once cooled in the fridge, you can cut the dough in circles with a round pastry cutter (5-8 cm / 2-3 inches Ø) or in squares or rhombus with a knife. It the dough has not cooled enough and it’s sticky, plunge the cutter into some water to help you (or brush it with some extra virgin olive oil).

making roman style gnocchi

If you choose the classic form (circle) you can put the remaining pieces of dough under the circle ones in the baking pan. If the dough is still soft and mixable you can re-knead what is left and roll out again to make other Gnocchi.

Spread butter onto one or more casserole (to make some single serving dishes) or onto a baking pan.

Line up Gnocchi into the pan and, if you like, overlap them a bit.

Sprinkle some more Parmigiano Reggiano and/or Pecorino Romano cheese over Gnocchi.

roman style gnocchi ready bake

Pour some melted butter on.

roman style gnocchi semolina bake butter

Bake at 200°C / 425°F / gas mark 7 for about 20-30 minutes.

At the end, if Gnocchi don’t have a golden crust, just switch to the broil/grill setting for a couple of minutes.

And Roman-Style Gnocchi with semolina flour are ready to be served and gobbled up!

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Roman-Style Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla Romana) with Semolina Flour
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Best authentic Italian Gnocchi alla Romana recipe.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 250 gr / 8.8 oz/ 1½ cup semolina flour (or semola rimacinata di grano duro)
  • 1 lt / 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 100 gr / 3.5 oz / ¾ cup butter (at fridge temperature)
  • 140 gr / 5 oz / 1¾ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese finely grated + more for baking
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • a pinch of nutmeg
Instructions
  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a lightly simmer, then add salt, nutmeg and semolina flour then stir well with a whisk to avoid lumps.
  2. Continue to stir with a wooden spoon and cook for at least 10 minutes, or until it begins to pull away from the sides of the saucepan. The mixture should be like some thick and firm mashed potatoes.
  3. Remove from heat and add cold butter.
  4. Add Parmigiano cheese and stir with a wooden spoon until all the butter is melted and absorbed.
  5. Quickly add the egg and yolks and stir until all is well mixed.
  6. Put the dough over a silpat or a baking paper, cover with a cling film or plastic wrap or another silpat and roll with a rolling-pin until it's flattened to about 1-2 cm / 0.40-0.80 inches.
  7. Leave to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  8. Once cooled in the fridge, you can cut the dough in circles with a round pastry cutter (5-8 cm / 2-3 inches Ø) or in squares or rhombus with a knife. It the dough has not cooled enough and it's sticky, plunge the cutter into some water to help you (or brush it with some extra virgin olive oil).
  9. If you choose the classic form (circle) you can put the remaining pieces of dough under the circle ones in the baking pan. If the dough is still soft and mixable you can re-knead what is left and roll out again to make other Gnocchi.
  10. Spread butter onto one or more casserole (to make some single serving dishes) or onto a baking pan.
  11. Line up Gnocchi into the pan and, if you like, overlap them a bit.
  12. Sprinkle some more Parmigiano Reggiano and/or Pecorino Romano cheese over Gnocchi.
  13. Pour some melted butter on.
  14. Bake at 200°C / 425°F / gas mark 7 for about 20-30 minutes.
  15. At the end, if Gnocchi don't have a golden crust, just switch to the broil/grill setting for a couple of minutes.

5 thoughts on “Roman-Style Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla Romana) with Semolina Flour

  1. Great recipe! My Italian mother in law used to make this dish for us. We recently went to Rome and it was impossible to find a restaurant that would serve this dish. Perhaps it is too labor intensive? But boy is it worth it!!! Thank you for the easy to follow directions and accompanying photos!

    • Hi Nina, maybe you couldn’t find it in Rome because nowadays restaurants try to serve dishes that are well known to tourists and of course less expencive and quick to make.
      But I think that in the Trastevere area (the reknown place with traditional and typical restaurants) you can find them (e.g. Ristorante Da Massi).

    • Hello Giulia,
      this recipe doesn’t have a definite history.
      Some believe that they were not born in Rome but in Piedmont Region for the large use of butter while others think that they’re from Romania because of their odd shape, so a merely writing error from “Romanian” to “Roman” (in italian from the word “romEna” to “romAna” – just a wrong syllabe).
      So despite the name this is not the most significant dish of Roman gastronomy.

Have you tried my recipe? Please leave a comment!