Sweet Potato Italian Gnocchi (or Pumpkin/Squash) – Super easy and egg-free!

These delicious little dumplings made with sweet potato, pumpkin or butternut squash mash in the authentic Italian style, served with melted butter and sage are so awesome and have so much flavour that you might want to make them every week! And they’re so simple with very few ingredients (egg-free!) and quick to make too! A keeper I would say!


Sweet potato gnocchi squash pumpkin italian

In Italy the most common Gnocchi are made with potato (follow this link for my best rated Potato Gnocchi recipe ever) but you can find them made with lots of other ingredients such as spinach, beetroot, squid ink, nettle, chestnut flour, cocoa powder and so on.

My favourite Gnocchi are made with “Zucca” (pron. zouh-kkuh) and that is the word we use to call every kind of pumpkin or squashes. So when you find an Italian recipe with pumpkin as an ingredient you need to remember that we may call it pumpkin but we use only those sweet or super sweet varieties that you mostly call squash (like Kabocha squash or the Italian wrinkled Butternut squash that is sweeter than the smooth one).

So if you are in Italy you won’t have any problem in finding the right one, they are all almost sweet, whether green or orange, and just when we are near Halloween you can find those round and big to make Jack O’ lantern, that are used only as a decoration.

best authentic italian gnocchi

When in January I moved to Brighton UK I was so sad that all the Butternut squashes were not sweet as the ones we have in Italy and I thought I couldn’t replicate all the delicious Italian “Zucca” recipes, until I found the orange Sweet Potato… uh, what a relief! It’s really a perfect substitute! (I didn’t know that kind of variety, because in Italy we have only the white sweet potato that differs from the orange one).

So if you want to make Squash Gnocchi that taste like the Italian ones use orange Sweet Potato, the vitamin A bomb!!!

Ok, now explanation apart, let’s get to the recipe!

Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin/Squash) Italian Gnocchi

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 3 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500 gr / 1 lb sweet potato or pumpkin/squash, cooked, well-drained and mashed (about 4 potatoes or 800 gr / 1.8 lbs raw squash/potato)
  • 100 gr / 1 1/3 cup / 3.5 oz Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese finely grated
  • 200 gr / 1 1/2 cup / 7.0 oz all-purpose flour (preferably pastry flour)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

Rinse, peel and cut the vegetables into little pieces and steam them in a microwave for about 15-20 minutes. For me this is the best cooking method because most of the water will evaporate in the cooking process and this will prevent to use too much flour in the dough thus avoiding rubbery Gnocchi. If you don’t have a microwave, bake them unpeeled until fork tender.

sweet potato steamed

The puree doesn’t have to be wet so, if needed, you can simmer it over medium heat until the “juices” boil off, but if you follow the microwave method you won’t have any problems.

Put steamed/cooked vegetables in a big bowl and mash them with a fork of potato masher.

sweet potato mashed pumpkin squash

Mix in Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and 3/4 flour (150 gr). Do not over mix.

squash gnocchi dough parmigiano nutmeg cinnamon

Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. Add the remainder flour only if necessary and the dough is still sticky.

It has to be soft and just a bit tacky. If it’s still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though! Adding more flour it certainly improves the workability of the dough, but it makes the Gnocchi too firm or can I say rubber ball? Nah, you don’t want that, do you?

sweet potato gnocchi dough

Immediately dust with flour your working area, take a piece of the dough at a time and gently roll each out to form 3/4 inch – 2 cm in diameter ropes.

sweet potato gnocchi rope

Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), and if you want you can lightly press and roll each pieces into the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board with the tip of your thumb to make a small indentation (this is a bit difficult to explain with words but there a lot of videos on the Web so you can watch them until I have time to make one by myself) but for Squash or Sweet Potato Gnocchi I like to skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.

sweet potato squash gnocchi italian

Put Gnocchi, divided from each other, over a well floured plate to avoid from sticking together.

If you want you can freeze them with the plate and once frozen you can put them into a freezer bag to leave more space in the freezer.

To cook Sweet Potato or Pumpkin/Squash Gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to avoid them from sticking while cooking.

Drop Gnocchi (both fresh or frozen), a few at a time, into the boiling water, make a little stir.

When they rise to the surface, immediately remove and drain them with a slotted spoon and put onto the serving dish.

Put your favourite sauce over them, give a little stir and serve immediately.

sweet potato squash pumpkin gnocchi italian

If you don’t serve them immediately, remember to sprinkle Gnocchi with a little bit of olive oil and give a little stir. When you want to serve Gnocchi just put your favourite sauce in a pan, heat up and put them in to combine for less than 30 seconds.

These are best served with melted butter and sage sauce (put butter in a pan, add sage, let simmer a bit and add cooked Gnocchi). I love to sprinkle some poppy seeds over for a little crunchy taste and for a lovely presentation. What a perfect balance of texture and flavour!

I’ve just finished writing this post and I’m really craving them again. Uh.. the downsides of blogging…

There’s nothing better than sitting in front of a plate of steaming hot Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin/Squash) Gnocchi, is it? And these are delicious pillows of Vitamin A… pure awesomeness!

best authentic italian gnocchi

Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin/Squash) Italian Gnocchi - Super easy and egg-free!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Delicious little dumplings made with sweet potato, pumpkin or butternut squash mash in the authentic Italian style, served with melted butter and sage.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 500 gr / 1 lb sweet potato or pumpkin/squash, cooked, well-drained and mashed (about 4 potatoes or 800 gr / 1.8 lbs raw squash/potato)
  • 100 gr / 1⅓ cup / 3.5 oz Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese finely grated
  • 200 gr / 1½ cup / 7.0 oz all-purpose flour (preferably pastry flour)
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Rinse, peel and cut the vegetables into little pieces and steam them in a microwave for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Put steamed/cooked vegetables in a big bowl and mash them with a fork of potato masher.
  3. Mix in Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and ¾ flour (150gr). Do not over mix.
  4. Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. Add the remainder flour only if necessary and the dough is still sticky. It has to be soft and just a bit tacky. If it’s still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though!
  5. Immediately dust with flour your working area, take a piece of the dough at a time and gently roll each out to form ¾ inch – 2 cm in diameter ropes.
  6. Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), and if you want you can lightly press and roll each pieces into the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board with the tip of your thumb to make a small indentation - I like to skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.
  7. Put Gnocchi, divided from each other, over a well floured plate to avoid from sticking together.
  8. If you want you can freeze them with the plate and once frozen you can put them into a freezer bag to leave more space in the freezer.
  9. To cook Sweet Potato or Pumpkin/Squash Gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to avoid them from sticking while cooking.
  10. Drop Gnocchi (both fresh or frozen), a few at a time, into the boiling water, make a little stir.
  11. When they rise to the surface, immediately remove and drain them with a slotted spoon and put onto the serving dish.
  12. Put your favourite sauce over them, give a little stir and serve immediately.
Notes
If you don’t serve them immediately, remember to sprinkle Gnocchi with a little bit of olive oil and give a little stir. When you want to serve Gnocchi just put your favourite sauce in a pan, heat up and put them in to combine for less than 30 seconds.

These are best served with melted butter and sage sauce (put butter in a pan, add sage, let simmer a bit and add cooked Gnocchi). I love to sprinkle some poppy seeds over for a little crunchy taste and for a lovely presentation.

Piadina Romagnola authentic Italian recipe and history about this typical Italian flatbread

One of my all time favorite quick italian dish is Piada or Piadina Romagnola (pron. pee-uh-dee-nuh), one of the most characteristic italian flatbread, known and loved in Italy and all over the world both as a street food and a comfort food. I researched for you the best authentic recipe because how Piadina is made varies from town to town, village to village so I kinda put myself as a judge and choose the winner for you. :)


best authentic piadina romagnola italian flatbread

Piadina is no doubt a typical product of the Romagna, a portion of the Emilia-Romagna region (Ravenna, Faenza, Forlì, Cesena and Rimini), but it’s also widespread in the areas of Ferrara, Pesaro e Urbino province, Montefeltro and the Republic of San Marino.

It’s usually made with wheat flour, fats (extra virgin olive oil and/or lard=rendered pork fat), water and/or milk, salt and some optional leavening agents and traditionally cooked on a clay dish from Montetiffi, a village near the town of Forlì, although nowadays flat pans or electric griddles are commonly used but the flavour would be less aromatic (video of the making of Montetiffi pan here or international online shop here).

teglie montetiffi pan

Creation of the Montetiffi pan. Old traditions handed down from father to son.

“Prema u s’fa e’ pianèl, pu dop u s’fa l’arvel pu dop u s’fa l’avrecia… ech fat la tégia!”. (Romagna dialect)

(tr.: EN. “First you create the flat base, then you make the border and then the indentation… that’s the pan!” – IT. “Prima si fa il piano, dopo si fa il bordo e poi l’orecchia… ecco fatta la teglia!”).

Once cooked, these delicacies are usually stuffed with either sweet or salted and savoury ingredients such as cured meats (salumi), cheeses, greens, or Nutella cream, but one of the most popular and best-selling combination is Parma ham + Squacquerone (a fresh and soft spreadable cow’s milk cheese with a typical tart flavour) + arugula/rocket, mmmm yummy!

best italian piadina flatbread prosciutto

Wow it makes me hungry every time I think about it! Not to mention the classic “winterly” stuffing with sausage and roasted/caramelized onions… 8).

History

Up to 100 years ago, Piadina was a poor man’s food because was considered to be a bread substitute to which people resorted weekly between a batch of bread and the other (bread was usually cooked once a week) but during the 60s women from the countryside started to prepare and sell it on the roads of the town with a hand-cart and a beach umbrella, therefore Piadina became a real meal.

Nowadays you can find Piadina in food stands all along the Romagna coast or Romagna towns.

Casa-Piadina

Pay attention that those store-brought Piadinas that you can find in supermarkets are nothing like those you can make at home or find in Romagna!

So, have you ever had the fortune to bite into a rich, crispy but soft steaming piadina filled with every kind of delicacies??? If not, well, find some time to make that at home, it’s easy! or visit Romagna and let me know if you like it!

“Delicious with every filling,                 “La j’è bona in tot i mud,
delicious even served plain:                 la j’è bona énca scundida:
if you haven’t already understood,       sà n’avì ancora capì,
I’m talking about piadina.”                   a scor propri dla pida.”
                                          (Folk poetry)

Here I’m writing several Piadina recipes along with my favourite one because I always heard or read strong and intense discussions around the “real” or the “perfect” recipe for Piadina but the perfect recipe for Piadina does not exist.

As I’ve already explained you before, every family has their recipe so the real recipe is that one that you’ve eaten in your lifetime, the one that makes you connect to your relatives or friends.

So, in order to make you choose the right one for you, I want to explain better the differences to whom that less know the local traditions.

THE SHAPE

Starting from the south of Romagna coast Piadina is very thin (up to 3mm-1/8in) and with a large diameter (from 23cm-9in to 30cm-12in) while proceeding north along the coast and to the inside towards the hills, the flatbread become thicker (from 4mm-1/6in to 8mm-5/16in) and smaller (from 15cm-6in to 25cm-10in).

THE INGREDIENTS IN THE DOUGH

The fats: people use extra virgin olive oil for a lighter and crispier piadina or lard from rendered pork fat (called “strutto” in italian) for a more rich and soft piadina or they use a combinations of both.

The liquids: people use water or whole milk or a combination of both.

Other optional ingredients: some people use baking soda or baking powder to make the dough rise a bit or more while cooking.

If you want a crispier Piadina, choose the one without lard and no leavening agents.

I like the Piadina to be a bit thick, soft, easy to fold without cracking with a great buttery richness, so I use lard instead of olive oil, a mix between water and milk and baking powder to make it less heavy.

authentic soft piada piadina cold cuts arugula

Piadina Romagnola authentic italian recipe

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 40 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 5-6 servings

Ingredients for my favourite Piadina dough (a bit thick, soft, easy to fold without cracking with a great rich and buttery taste):

  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 75 grams / 2.70 ounces lard from rendered pork fat (called “strutto” in italian)
  • 8 grams / 2 tsp baking powder
  • 8 grams / 1 full tsp salt
  • 150ml / 3/4 cup / 5.00 Us fluid ounces whole milk
  •  ≈ or a bit less than 100ml / 1/2 cup / 3.40 Us fluid ounces water
General ingredients to make every kind of Piadina dough:
  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 50 grams / 1.80 ounces / 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    OR
    75 grams / 2.70 ounces lard from rendered pork fat (called “strutto” in italian)
    OR
    a mix between them
  • 8 grams / 2 tsp baking powder
    OR
    1 tsp of baking soda
    OR
    no leavening agents
  • 8 grams / 1 full tsp salt
  • 250 ml / 1 1/4 cups / 8.5 Us fluid ounces of liquids (whole milk, water or both)
Instructions for all the Piadina recipes:

Combine lard (if used), flour and salt, then mix in water and/or milk, olive oil (if used), baking powder or baking soda (if used).

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until quite smooth, uniform, soft but no sticky (if it’s sticky add more flour).

Make a ball and cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes at room temperature (if the dough is being prepared more than 1 hour in advance, you can keep it in the fridge and when needed remove 1 hour before using it).

Heat Montetiffi pan or a non-stick pan over medium-high heat if you’re eating piadina immediately.

testo teglia montetiffi pan piadina

My used Montetiffi pan. Brown spots after using it are normal and they don’t affect the cooking process.

Divide the ball into several pieces (I suggest 5 – about 140-150gr each ball).

piadina romagnola dough balls

Roll out the dough into a circle with a rolling pin on a floured surface to the desired thickness (I like it thicker, 4mm-1/6in).

piadina piada rolled out circle

If you want the circle to be perfect, use a round cutter large enough.
As you can see I don’t mind! (so people know that are home made)

If you’re making large quantities of this recipe or want to rolled out piadina few hours in advance, I suggest you to stack up the rolled out dough by putting a baking paper sheet between each piadina until you’re ready to cook.

Once the pan is hot, add raw piadina, prick it all over with a fork to avoid air bubbles and cook for about 1-2 minutes for a thin piadina, 2-3 minutes for a thicker one or however until forming brown spots onto the bottom.

piadina flatbread pan testo montetiffi

Then flip and cook for about the same time.

piadina cooked testo montetiffi pan

Remember that piadina should be served hot, so it’s recommended to have your fillings ready.

Once cooked you can serve piadina immediately by placing your desired filling on a half and then close to a half moon or cutting it as is into triangles to use as a bread-substitute.

authentic italian piadina half moon

If you don’t serve piadinas right away, you can stack them up, put into a well-sealed plastic bag, and put in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for a couple of months and when you want a quick meal just put cold or frozen piadina onto a pan until it’s hot enough (do not over cook).

piadina squacquerone parma ham salumi

Here I give you some ideas of ingredients to put in your piadina:

piadina salame parma ham mortadella speck

The savoury:

  • Parma ham or other cured meats (salami), soft cheese (the original squacquerone or cream cheese, or ricotta) and arugula/rocket;
  • roasted/caramelized onions and sausage;
  • cooked ham, fontina or taleggio or asiago cheese and mushrooms mayonnaise;
  • porchetta with onions;
  • smoked cheese and ham;
  • bell peppers and sausage;
  • cooked ham, mozzarella, mushrooms;
  • Parma ham, mozzarella and tomatoes;
  • mortadella (not baloney of course);
  • wurst and mustard (hot dog style);
  • sausage, pepperoni, onion and hot sauce;
  • sausage, onion, bell peppers and beans;
  • bacon cooked with balsamic vinegar and radicchio;
  • squash/pumpkin, sausage and mozzarella;

(sorry for the amount of pork meat choices but I was born and live in Emilia-Romagna region and as for every real Emiliano, we cannot live without pork meat, we will be seriously ill! :D)

  • roast-beef, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato;
  • roast-beef, arugula/rocket and shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese;
  • roast-beef and roasted potatoes;
  • roasted potatoes and smoked cheese;
  • good quality canned tuna, mozzarella, tomatoes, oregano and mayonnaise;
  • mozzarella and grilled vegetables;
  • smoked salmon, dill and mayonaise or sour cream;
  • smoked salmon and cream cheese;
  • tomatoes, aurugula/rocket, mushrooms and shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese;
  • roasted/caramelized onions and gorgonzola cheese (or blu cheese);
  • sliced turkey breast, fontina or taleggio or asiago cheese and mushrooms mayonnaise.

Or the sweets:

  • Nutella or Nutella and mascarpone or Nutella and banana;
  • fruit jam or ricotta and fruit jam;
  • honey and cheeses;
  • white chocholate and shredded coconut.

best italian flatbread piadina closeup

So what’s your favourite recipe for piadina? The crispy, the soft, the thin or the thick? And what stuffing would you like to put in there?

As you can see, Piadina is a very simple recipe, tastier than other flatbreads, and you can fill it with a lot of ingredients to make it as a real meal. So that’s why piadina has earned its place in the gastronomic hall of fame, becoming one of the most loved and enjoyable italian foods.

Piadina Romagnola authentic Italian recipe and history about this typical Italian flatbread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Authentic Italian Flatbread recipe for Piadina Romagnola and his history.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 5
Ingredients
Ingredients for my favourite Piadina dough (a bit thick, soft, easy to fold without cracking with a great rich and buttery taste):
  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 75 grams / 2.70 ounces lard from rendered pork fat (called "strutto" in italian)
  • 8 grams / 2 tsp baking powder
  • 8 grams / 1 full tsp salt
  • 150ml / ¾ cup / 5.00 Us fluid ounces whole milk
  • ≈ or a bit less than 100ml / ½ cup / 3.40 Us fluid ounces water
General ingredients to make every kind of Piadina dough:
  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 50 grams / 1.80 ounces / 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • OR
  • 75 grams / 2.70 ounces lard from rendered pork fat (called "strutto" in italian)
  • OR
  • a mix between them
  • 8 grams / 2 tsp baking powder
  • OR
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • OR
  • no leavening agents
  • 8 grams / 1 full tsp salt
  • 250 ml / 1¼ cups / 8.5 Us fluid ounces of liquids (whole milk, water or both)
Instructions
  1. Combine lard (if used), flour and salt, then mix in water and/or milk, olive oil (if used), baking powder or baking soda (if used).
  2. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until quite smooth, uniform, soft but no sticky (if it's sticky add more flour).
  3. Make a ball and cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes at room temperature (if the dough is being prepared more than 1 hour in advance, you can keep it in the fridge and when needed remove 1 hour before using it).
  4. Heat Montetiffi pan or a non-stick pan over medium-high heat if you're eating piadina immediately.
  5. Divide the ball into several pieces (I suggest 5 - about 140-150gr each ball).
  6. Roll out the dough into a circle with a rolling pin on a floured surface to the desired thickness (I like it thicker, 4mm-1/6in).
  7. If you want the circle to be perfect, use a round cutter large enough.
  8. Once the pan is hot, add raw piadina, prick it all over with a fork to avoid air bubbles and cook for about 1-2 minutes for a thin piadina, 2-3 minutes for a thicker one or however until forming brown spots onto the bottom.
  9. Then flip and cook for about the same time.
  10. Remember that piadina should be served hot, so it's recommended to have your fillings ready.
  11. Once cooked you can serve piadina immediately by placing your desired filling on a half and then close to a half moon or cutting it as is into triangles to use as a bread-substitute.

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!


roman style gnocchi semolina best easy romana perfect

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?

semolina gnocchi best recipe

parmigiano reggiano discount

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!

italian gnocchi roman style easy best

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.

Italian Carnival Sweet Fritters: Crostoli… or Chiacchiere, Frappe, Sfrappole, Cenci, Galani, Grostoli, Bugie…

AUTHENTIC ITALIAN CARNIVAL SWEET FRITTERS

These are my favourite Carnival Sweet Fritters ever! Crispy but light and no greasy at all thanks to vinegar added in. I could eat them all day long!


crostoli chiacchiere frappe sfrappole galani carnival sweet fritters italian

Here in Italy is not the right time to start a diet (or at least for me), because it’s Carnival time!
During this time we are used to eat/make typical Italian sweet fritters, among which there are, what I call, Crostoli (cross-toh-lee), but as you can see from the title, depending on what town you are in Italy, they’re called with different names.

from Wikipedia:
Carnival, or Carnivale, is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party.
People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life. The last day of Carnival is Mardi Gras. […]
[…] The most famous Carnivals of Italy are those held in Venice, Viareggio, Ivrea and Acireale. […]
-Read more information here on Wikipedia about Carnival in Italy-

carnival mask venice crostoli chiacchiere sweet fritters

A Venetian Carnival Mask

Crostoli are made from dough into thin rectangular sheets and then twisted as ribbons or kept flat with wavy borders, deep-fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Crostoli flat

Remember that, when you eat one Crostolo, you can’t make you stop from eating more, even if the first mouth-impression seems not to be that amazing.

So here’s the recipe my grandmother taught me.

Carnival Sweet Fritters: Crostoli… or Chiacchiere, Frappe, Sfrappole, Cenci…

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or medium egg
  • 1 tbsp melted butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of finely grated lemon zest (only the yellow part) or 1 drop of lemon essential oil (organic)
  • 1 tbsp apple vinegar (plain vinegar or grappa also works well)
  • ≈1 – 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the working area
  • powdered sugar to garnish as needed
  • oil to fry (peanut, corn, sunflower…) as needed

Instructions:

In a bowl mix the egg, melted butter or evo oil, sugar, salt, vanilla, lemon zest and vinegar. Add flour until a no sticky dough is formed.
Knead the dough on a floured work surface for about 5-10 minutes until it’s smooth. Let it rest for about 15 minutes, covered with plastic wrap, in a cool place but not in the fridge.

After that, divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll them out on a floured surface with a rolling pin to form a strip as thin as you can.

Instead, if you use a pasta maker (like me), set it on the widest setting (1), take one piece of the dough and with the palm of your hand flatten it a bit, turn the crunk (or if you have an electric pasta maker switch on the start button) and feed the dough through the rollers.
Fold the edges of the strip towards the middle and feed it through the rollers several times, changing the setting of the pasta maker until you reach the smallest (5). Don’t worry if the strips are not perfect, Crostoli has to come out irregular anyway.

Crostoli little helper

My little assistant…

Cut the thin strips into ≈ 3.5 x 3 inch (9 x 7,5 cm) pieces with a pastry wheel cutter (with wavy edge is better).

Crostolo phase 1

Make 3 small cuts in the middle of each piece as shown above.

And follow the next photos to make the classic Crostoli shape (but you can leave them flat).

Crostolo 2 phaseCrostolo phase 3

Crostoli phase 4Crostolo phase 5

crostoli galaniCrostolo phase 7

Crostolo phase 8

And that’s the final Crostolo shape!

crostolo final shape sweet fritter carnival

Place over a floured surface.

chiacchiere ready

In a wide and high frying pan, heat up the oil until a wooden spoon dipped in starts to make little bubbles.

Deep-fry Crostoli, turning them twice until they lost their “white” color, do not overcook or they will have a burning taste.

Scoop them out and drain off the oil by putting them over a kitchen paper.

When they’re cool, sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

crostoli chiacchiere sfrappole carnival

With that same pasta dough you can do sweet fritters Tortelli (traditionally filled with italian sweet mustard plus chestnut flour or jam or custard or Nutella). Yummy!!!

Italian Carnival Sweet Fritters: Crostoli... or Chiacchiere, Frappe, Sfrappole, Cenci, Galani, Grostoli, Bugie...
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Delicious Carnival Sweet Fritters, crispy and full of flavour.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 large or medium egg
  • 1 tbsp melted butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of finely grated lemon zest (only the yellow part) or 1 drop of lemon essential oil (organic)
  • 1 tbsp apple vinegar (plain vinegar or grappa also works well)
  • ≈1 - 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the working area
  • powdered sugar to garnish as needed
  • oil to fry (peanut, corn, sunflower...) as needed
Instructions
  1. In a bowl mix the egg, melted butter or evo oil, sugar, salt, vanilla, lemon zest and vinegar. Add flour until a no sticky dough is formed.
  2. Knead the dough on a floured work surface for about 5-10 minutes until it's smooth.
  3. Let it rest for about 15 minutes, covered with plastic wrap, in a cool place but not in the fridge.
  4. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll them out on a floured surface with a rolling pin to form a strip as thin as you can.
  5. If you use a pasta maker, set it on the widest setting (1), take one piece of the dough and with the palm of your hand flatten it a bit, turn the crunk (or if you have an electric pasta maker switch on the start button) and feed the dough through the rollers.
  6. Fold the edges of the strip towards the middle and feed it through the rollers several times, changing the setting of the pasta maker until you reach the smallest (5).
  7. Cut the thin strips into ≈ 3.5 x 3 inch (9 x 7,5 cm) pieces with a pastry wheel cutter (with wavy edge is better).
  8. Make 3 small cuts in the middle of each piece (see pictures in blog post).
  9. Make the classic Crostoli shape (but you can leave them flat).
  10. Place over a floured surface.
  11. In a wide and high frying pan, heat up the oil until a wooden spoon dipped in starts to make little bubbles.
  12. Deep-fry Crostoli, turning them twice until they lost their "white" color, do not overcook or they will have a burning taste.
  13. Scoop them out and drain off the oil by putting them over a kitchen paper.
  14. When they're cool, sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

Potato Gnocchi: authentic, best and fool-proof recipe, firm outside with a delicate and soft texture inside, not chewy, not soggy… simply delicious!

Stop looking elsewhere. Here you’ve found the best and fool-proof Gnocchi recipe ever. Yes, now you can make authentic Italian Gnocchi like a fine restaurant (or even better) with no fuss, I promise. (comments below can confirm that)


Potato Gnocchi best italian soft firm tender not chewy

If you don’t know what they are, Gnocchi (nyoh-k-kee) are a typical italian pasta, they can be prepared with different flours like semolina but the most popular are those made with potatoes.

Here in Italy you can easily find good quality fresh Gnocchi at the grocery store, but making them at home it’s always comforting…. especially when you’re stuck at home with your son ill and you have only some potatoes and eggs in your pantry, like me today 😀 .

I don’t like gum-like Gnocchi, they are too chewy for me, and I like to make them little, so when you eat them you can taste the sauce better, but they’re easy to make so you can choose the size you want – little Gnocchi are also called “Chicche” (kee-k-kay).

Have a try at them because is not the hardest pasta to make if you follow my instructions (as instead many people say that). Those which haven’t been successful in making gnocchi is just because they were in lack of information, trust me!

parmigiano reggiano discount

So here is my best version for delicious Potato Gnocchi!

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 30-40 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 6-7 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs / 1,4 kg raw potatoes not peeled, suitable for gnocchi (starchy or old potatoes not waxy)
  • 2 egg yolks (medium)
  • 3 tbsp / 30 grams / 1 ounce potato starch
  • 2/3 cup / 50 grams / 1.8 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese (finely grated)
  • 2 tsp / 15 grams salt
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup / 130 grams / 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (sifted) plus more to put on the working area

Gnocchi Ingredients

Instructions:

Rinse, peel and cut potatoes into little pieces and put them in a microwave steamer for about 15 minutes. For me this is the best cooking method because most of the water will evaporate in the cooking process and this will prevent to use too much flour in the dough thus avoiding rubbery Gnocchi.

If you don’t have a microwave just rinse potatoes, leave the peel (so they don’t absorb too much water) put them in a pot filled with water and boil until fork-tender. While still warm, peel the potatoes.

Mash potatoes with a fork or a potato masher and put them in a big bowl.

Let them cool a bit.

(If you cook potatoes in a pot with water wait the next day to make gnocchi or try to dry them a bit in the oven)

Add egg yolks, potato starch, Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Cheese, a pinch of grated nutmeg (if you like), salt and flour.

Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. It has to be soft and not too much sticky. If it’s still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though!

Immediately dust with flour your working area, take a piece of the dough at a time and gently roll each out to form 3/4 inch – 2 cm in diameter ropes.

Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), lightly press and roll each pieces into the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board with the tip of your thumb to make a small indentation (this is a bit difficult to explain with words but there a lot of videos on the Web so you can watch them until I have time to make one by myself) or you can skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.

potato gnocchi rolls

Put Gnocchi, divided from each other, over a well floured plate to avoid from sticking together.

Let them rest for 15 minutes.

potato gnocchi best authentic

If you want you can freeze them with the plate and once frozen you can put them into a freezer bag to leave more space in the freezer.

To cook Gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to avoid them from sticking while cooking.

Drop Gnocchi (both fresh or frozen), a few at a time, into the boiling water, make a little stir.

When they rise to the surface, immediately remove and drain them with a slotted spoon and put onto the serving dish.

Put pasta sauce over them and serve immediately.

If you don’t serve them immediately, remember to sprinkle Gnocchi with a little bit of olive oil and give a little stir. When you want to serve Gnocchi just put your favourite sauce in a pan, heat up and put them in to combine for less than 30 seconds.

potato gnocchi ragu bolognese

As shown above, I used my Ultimate Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce but they’re really good too with just a melted butter and sage sauce like I did for my son.

potato gnocchi butter sage

Potato Gnocchi: firm outside with a delicate and soft texture inside, not chewy, not soggy... simply delicious!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Best Authentic Italian Gnocchi recipe, fool-proof, easy and super delicious.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs / 1,4 kg raw potatoes not peeled, suitable for gnocchi (starchy or old potatoes not waxy)
  • 2 egg yolks (medium)
  • 3 tbsp / 30 grams / 1 ounce potato starch
  • ⅔ cup / 50 grams / 1.8 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese (finely grated)
  • 2 tsp / 15 grams salt
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup / 130 grams / 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (sifted) plus more to put on the working area
Instructions
  1. Rinse, peel and cut potatoes into little pieces and put them in a microwave steamer for about 15 minutes.
OR
  1. Rinse potatoes, leave the peel (so they don't absorb too much water) put them in a pot filled with water and boil until fork-tender. While still warm, peel the potatoes.
  2. Mash potatoes with a fork or a potato masher and put them in a big bowl.
  3. Let them cool a bit.
  4. Add egg yolks, potato starch, Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Cheese, a pinch of grated nutmeg (if you like), salt and flour.
  5. Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. It has to be soft and not too much sticky. If it's still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though!
  6. Immediately dust with flour your working area, take a piece of the dough at a time and gently roll each out to form ¾ inch - 2 cm in diameter ropes.
  7. Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), lightly press and roll each pieces into the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board with the tip of your thumb to make a small indentation or you can skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.
  8. Put Gnocchi, divided from each other, over a well floured plate to avoid from sticking together.
  9. Let them rest for 15 minutes.
  10. To cook Gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to avoid them from sticking while cooking.
  11. Drop Gnocchi (both fresh or frozen), a few at a time, into the boiling water, make a little stir.
  12. When they rise to the surface, immediately remove and drain them with a slotted spoon and put onto the serving dish.
  13. Put pasta sauce over them and serve immediately.

Mini Tuna Meatballs (Polpette di Tonno): an easy and tasty finger food

ITALIAN MINI TUNA MEATBALLS

New Year’s Eve is around the corner so, if you’re planning on doing a seafood-based party, why not making these delicious little tuna meatballs, Italian style?
They are perfect as a starter or as a finger food just as is, but you can dip them in mayonnaise or any delicate sauce you like.
You can eat them also as a second course with some fresh vegetables on the side, like a crispy salad.


mini tuna meatballs italian best perfect capers ricotta finger food

These meatballs are easy to make and require ingredients that everybody have at home… well maybe ricotta is not always in your fridge if you don’t live in Italy but you can substitute it with a good quality cottage cheese well-drained and finely ground or sifted (not the reduced-fat version), although ricotta would leave a lighter and better taste so use this one if you can easily find it in grocery stores.

Years ago I tried recipes found online that didn’t satisfy me at all, so I made some adjustment to make them perfect (in my opinion, of course).

I gave the recipe to almost all my friends because, after tasting them, they were amazed. Too delicious, they said. Once you eat one, you can’t stop from eating more.

Mini Tuna Meatballs – Polpette di tonno (pron. paul-pet-teh D ton-no)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 7 oz. / 200 gr. good quality tuna canned in olive oil, drained
  • 7 oz. / 200 gr. ricotta (or cottage cheese, drained and sifted)
  • 1 tbsp white onion, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp vinegar-brined capers, well-drained (if you have salt-packed capers soak them in cool water for about 15 minutes rinsing them in several changes of water or they will be too salty)
  • 2 oz. / 60 gr. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
  • 3 oz. / 80 gr. bread crumbs, extra finely grated (plus extra for rolling meatballs)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • salt to taste

Instructions:

Take a bowl and add tuna (well-drained and roughly chopped), ricotta (or cottage cheese as specified above), onion, parsley, chopped capers, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and bread crumbs. Mix them well, adjust with salt to taste and then you can add eggs.

I suggest you to mix them with a fork or with your hands and avoid electric appliances to preserve the “little crumbly” texture (if you do this with an electric mixer the tuna meatballs could be too tough after cooking).

tuna capers dough meatballs

The dough should look like the picture above, soft but not too sticky (if it is, add more bread crumbs).

Make little balls (from 1 to 1 1/2 inches – 2,5 cm to 4 cm ø) and:

  • roll them in some fine bread crumbs for a quicker way (like I did);
    -OR-
  • roll them in some flour, dip them into a beaten egg and roll them again in some fine bread crumbs (this will give a crispier and firm crust to the meatballs – this is recommended).

tuna meatballs polpette authentic italian

Put the meatballs over a plate and heat oil in a deep-frying pan (if you like you can put them in a plastic bag, then in the freezer and cook when you want – after that remember to cook them frozen).

Deep-fry the “polpette” at about 320-335°F / 160-170°C until golden brown.

Remove from the frying pan and put them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.

I suggest you to serve in a glass/crystal ball or thread them onto little skewers (3 meatballs per skewer) and place on a fancy plate if you need them for a party.

tuna meatballs capers ricotta authentic italian

They’re good both warm and at room temperature.
You can cook them in the oven for a light dinner (400°F / 200°C / gas mark 6) for about 15-20 minutes, but they will be not so good-looking as the fried ones.

polpette tuna meatballs authentic italian finger food

Mini Tuna Meatballs (Polpette di Tonno): an easy and tasty finger food
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Mouthwatering tuna meatballs that you'll love at first bite.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 7 oz. / 200 gr. good quality tuna canned in olive oil, drained
  • 7 oz. / 200 gr. ricotta (or cottage cheese, drained and sifted)
  • 1 tbsp white onion, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp vinegar-brined capers, well-drained (if you have salt-packed capers soak them in cool water for about 15 minutes rinsing them in several changes of water or they will be too salty)
  • 2 oz. / 60 gr. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
  • 3 oz. / 80 gr. bread crumbs, extra finely grated (plus extra for rolling meatballs)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Take a bowl and add tuna (well-drained and roughly chopped), ricotta (or cottage cheese as specified above), onion, parsley, chopped capers, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and bread crumbs. Mix them well, adjust with salt to taste and then you can add eggs.
  2. I suggest you to mix them with a fork or with your hands and avoid electric appliances to preserve the "little crumbly" texture (if you do this with an electric mixer the tuna meatballs could be too tough after cooking).
  3. Make little balls (from 1 to 1½ inches - 2,5 cm to 4 cm ø) and:
  4. roll them in some fine bread crumbs for a quicker way (like I did);
-OR-
  1. roll them in some flour, dip them into a beaten egg and roll them again in some fine bread crumbs (this will give a crispier and firm crust to the meatballs - this is recommended).
  2. Put the meatballs over a plate and heat oil in a deep-frying pan (if you like you can put them in a plastic bag, then in the freezer and cook when you want - after that remember to cook them frozen).
  3. Deep-fry the "polpette" at about 320-335°F / 160-170°C until golden brown.
  4. Remove from the frying pan and put them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
OR
  1. You can cook them in the oven for a light dinner (400°F / 200°C / gas mark 6) for about 15-20 minutes, but they will be not so good-looking as the fried ones.

Passatelli Pasta (comfort Italian pasta)

AUTHENTIC PASSATELLI RECIPE – ITALIAN DUMPLINGS

Passatelli (puh-ssuh-tell-e) are a real comfort pasta typical of Emilia-Romagna, Italian region.
Usually eaten in cold evenings and accompanied by a genuine home-made meat and vegetable stock can be a really cure for a bad cold.


My mum made these every time I got a fever and now I make Passatelli for my young son, even if he’s not ill, and he likes them very much (he wolfs them down! 😀 ).

passatelli brodo broth romagna italian best perfect pasta comfort food

You can do Passatelli using a potato masher or a meat grinder with large holes (originally it was used a special Passatelli utensil, shown below, but it’s not easy to find it nowadays).

Due to the high amount of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese I suggest you to not use fake parmesan, or the result may differ a lot from the original recipe. You may use Grana Padano instead (another italian cheese like Parmigiano).

parmigiano reggiano discount

Passatelli in brodo (Passatelli in broth)

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 40-50 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 150 grams / 5.30 ounces / 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, extra finely grated
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces / 2 1/2 cups Parmigiano Reggiano, extra finely grated
  • 3 tsp fresh ground nutmeg (grated directly from the seed is better)
  • 3 eggs
  • a pinch of salt

(Some recipes calls for lemon zest to be added in the dough, like it’s used in Romagna, but I think that lemon zest is not appropriate if Passatelli are served in broth. You can add lemon zest and reduce the amount of nutmeg if you’re serving Passatelli with a seafood based sauce.)

Instructions:

Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth dough. It has to be quiet tough, not like a pizza dough, but it doesn’t have to crumble away (if it’s too sticky add some bread crumbs, if it crumbles add few drops of water).
Let rest 15 minutes covered with a plastic wrap.
Put the dough into a potato masher or a meat grinder with large holes (0,5 cm / 0.2 inches diameter) and form Passatelli at about 5 cm / 2” length.

Put Passatelli in a plate and try to leave space between them to avoid sticking together.

Cook in a rolling boil stock (salted to taste) until they float (about 5 minutes). Put in a soup plate and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
They’re even better after 2 hours, just leave them in the stock and heat up before serving.
You can refrigerate both fresh and cooked Passatelli for a month.

Passatelli Pasta (comfort Italian pasta)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 150 grams / 5.30 ounces / 1½ cups bread crumbs, extra finely grated
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces / 2½ cups Parmigiano Reggiano, extra finely grated
  • 3 tsp fresh ground nutmeg (grated directly from the seed is better)
  • 3 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth dough. It has to be quiet tough, not like a pizza dough, but it doesn't have to crumble away (if it's too sticky add some bread crumbs, if it crumbles add few drops of water).
  2. Let rest 15 minutes covered with a plastic wrap.
  3. Put the dough into a potato masher or a meat grinder with large holes (0,5 cm / 0.2 inches diameter) and form Passatelli at about 5 cm / 2'' length.
  4. Put Passatelli in a plate and try to leave space between them to avoid sticking together.
  5. Cook in a rolling boil stock (salted to taste) until they float (about 5 minutes).
  6. Put in a soup plate and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
  7. They're even better after 2 hours, just leave them in the stock and heat up before serving.

Italian Little Pizzas (Pizzette)

These little pizzas are children’s favourites. They are perfect for parties as a finger food, but you have to be sure to make a big batch because they run out quickly!
Trust me, these little pizzas will be really a success.


best pizzette little pizza fingerfood parties feast

So, as promised, here is the 3rd pizza recipe I’d like to share with you, the last one (for now).

Italian Little Pizzas (Pizzette)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 2h and 30 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Yield: ≈25 little pizzas (8 cm / 3″ Ø)

Ingredients:

  • 270 grams / 9.5 ounces / 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 10 grams / 0.35 ounces / 1 tbsp granulated dry yeast or 25 grams / 1/2 tbsp fresh yeast or 240 grams / 8.40 ounces mother yeast
  • 41 grams / 1.45 ounces / 8 tsp sugar
  • 72 grams / 2.5 ounces / 6 tbsp sunflower or corn oil
  • 300 grams / 10.6 ounces / 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 300 grams / 10.6 ounces / 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 18 grams / 0.63 ounces / 3 tsp salt

Instructions:

Dissolve dry yeast in warm water with sugar.
Mix all the ingredients and knead for about 20 minutes to form a soft, smooth and no sticky dough (add flour or water to adjust).
Let rise for 2 hours (3-4 hours if using mother yeast) covered with plastic wrap.
Roll out the dough to 0,3 cm / 0.12″ thick, with a round pastry cutter form the little pizzas and put them in a pan covered with baking paper.

Dress with plain tomato sauce and cover with a lid or plastic wrap to prevent a dry crust.

little italian pizza tomato Preheat oven to 220°C / 425°F / gas mark 7.
In the meantime, let rise pizzas a bit (about 30 minutes).

Bake pizzas for 5 minutes or until you can see tomato “cracks” as you can see below.

Little Pizza Baking

Add a mozzarella cube over each pizza and bake again 10 minutes or until mozzarella is melted and light brown.

little pizza mozzarella

Aren’t they making you hungry???

best pizzette little pizza fingerfood perfect

IMPORTANT tips to know:

If you are using fresh or dry yeast (not mother yeast), I suggest you to greatly reduce the amount of yeast in recipes and, as a consequence, to extend the rising time.
A slow fermentation allow a better maturation of the dough with more digestible, more flavorful and tastier pizzas.
So here are the times I suggest you for about 500 grams/18 ounces/4 cups of flour (that usually require 10 grams/1 tbsp granulated dry yeast or 25 grams / 1/2 tbsp fresh yeast for 2 hours of rising time):

  • 4 h of rising time -> use 1/2 amount of yeast;
  • 6 h of rising time -> use 1/4 amount of yeast;
  • 8 h of rising time -> use 1/8 amount of yeast;
  • 10 h of rising time -> use 1/16 amount of yeast;
  • ……

Here’s an example: if you want your dough to rise in 6 hours use 2,5 grams / 1/4 tbsp of granulated dry yeast or 6,25 grams / 1/8 tbsp of fresh yeast. 

Italian Little Pizzas (Pizzette)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Italian Little Pizzas, perfect for a brunch, children birthdays or any other party.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 25
Ingredients
  • 270 grams / 9.5 ounces / 1¼ cups warm water
  • 10 grams / 0.35 ounces / 1 tbsp granulated dry yeast or 25 grams / ½ tbsp fresh yeast or 240 grams / 8.40 ounces mother yeast
  • 41 grams / 1.45 ounces / 8 tsp sugar
  • 72 grams / 2.5 ounces / 6 tbsp sunflower or corn oil
  • 300 grams / 10.6 ounces / 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 300 grams / 10.6 ounces / 2½ cups bread flour
  • 18 grams / 0.63 ounces / 3 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Dissolve dry yeast in warm water with sugar.
  2. Mix all the ingredients and knead for about 20 minutes to form a soft, smooth and no sticky dough (add flour or water to adjust).
  3. Let rise for 2 hours (3-4 hours if using mother yeast) covered with plastic wrap.
  4. Roll out the dough to 0,3 cm / 0.12" thick, with a round pastry cutter form the little pizzas and put them in a pan covered with baking paper.
  5. Dress with plain tomato sauce and cover with a lid or plastic wrap to prevent a dry crust.
  6. Preheat oven to 220°C / 425°F / gas mark 7.
  7. In the meantime, let rise pizzas a bit (about 30 minutes).
  8. Bake pizzas for 5 minutes or until you can see tomato "cracks".
  9. Add a mozzarella cube over each pizza and bake again 10 minutes or until mozzarella is melted and light brown.

Soft and Doughy Pizza By The Slice (Italian Pizza al Taglio)

My son doesn’t like flat pizza, so I had to learn how to make a really soft and doughy pizza like those you can find in an italian bakery (…or anywhere else).


pizza al taglio soft doughy italian best chicago style

I’ve already told you that I’m a very pizza addict, so here is a second recipe… while waiting for the 3rd! 😉

At home it’s mostly impossible to achieve because you would need professional ovens, so after months and months of kneading and baking I figured out how to do it (the secret for a very soft dough is just a potato)… and now my son is really happy (and I keep on baking…).

If you want to save time, like I often do, you can use instant mashed potato flour instead of steaming just one potato. So keep in mind that if you use a steamed potato you need to reduce the amount of water stated in the ingredients.

Pizza al taglio

Soft and Doughy Pizza (Italian Pizza al taglio)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 25 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 3/4 servings – 40cm x 30cm / 15″ x 12″ pizza pan

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 130 grams / 4.6 ounces / 1/2 cup milk (or water if you want a lighter version)
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces / 1 cup water* (less if using a steamed potato read below)
  • 10 grams / 1 tbsp granulated active dry yeast or 25 grams / 1/2 tbsp fresh yeast or 140 grams / 5 ounces mother yeast
  • 20 grams / 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 20 grams / 1/4 cup instant mashed potatoes flour or 1 steamed and peeled potato (in this case use less water*)
  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour (or pizza/bread flour)
  • 10 grams / 1 full tsp sugar
  • 10 grams / 1 1/2 tsp salt

For the topping:

  • 1 cup plain chopped tomatoes sauce, plus a little pinch of sugar, salt to taste
  • other ingredients to your taste
  • fresh mozzarella, cut into 1.5 cm / 0.59 inches square pieces (making big pieces is important to prevent mozzarella from burning during the cooking time)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 230°C / 450°F / gas mark 8.
Dissolve yeast in warm water and/or milk, sugar and butter, then mix all the ingredients (add the remain water and salt at last) to form a smooth, soft and no sticky dough (If it’s too sticky add a little flour otherwise add more water). Knead for about 20 minutes.
Let rest for 5 minutes, cover your pizza pan with baking paper and roll out the dough.

Pizza al taglio dough

Cover with a lid or a plastic wrap to avoid the dough from drying and let rise for at least 2 hours (4 if using mother yeast).

Pizza al taglio dressing

Dress pizza with tomato sauce, other ingredients and mozzarella.

Pizza al taglio ready

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Pizza al taglio soft doughy

Pizza al Taglio, done!

IMPORTANT tips to know:

If you are using fresh or dry yeast (not mother yeast), I suggest you to greatly reduce the amount of yeast in recipes and, as a consequence, to extend the rising time.
A slow fermentation allow a better maturation of the dough with more digestible, more flavorful and tastier pizzas.
So here are the times I suggest you for 500 grams/18 ounces/4 cups of flour (that usually require 10 grams/1 tbsp granulated dry yeast or 25 grams / 1/2 tbsp fresh yeast for 2 hours of rising time):

  • 4 h of rising time -> use 1/2 amount of yeast;
  • 6 h of rising time -> use 1/4 amount of yeast;
  • 8 h of rising time -> use 1/8 amount of yeast;
  • 10 h of rising time -> use 1/16 amount of yeast;
  • ……

Here’s an example: if you want your dough to rise in 6 hours use 2,5 grams / 1/4 tbsp of granulated dry yeast or 6,25 grams / 1/8 tbsp of fresh yeast.

Soft and Doughy Pizza By The Slice (Italian Pizza al Taglio)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Soft and Doughy Pizza By The Slice like those you can find in an Italian bakery.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the dough
  • 130 grams / 4.6 ounces / ½ cup milk (or water if you want a lighter version)
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces / 1 cup water* (less if using a steamed potato read below)
  • 10 grams / 1 tbsp granulated active dry yeast or 25 grams / ½ tbsp fresh yeast or 140 grams / 5 ounces mother yeast
  • 20 grams / 1½ tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 20 grams / ¼ cup instant mashed potatoes flour or 1 steamed and peeled potato (in this case use less water*)
  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour (or pizza/bread flour)
  • 10 grams / 1 full tsp sugar
  • 10 grams / 1½ tsp salt
For the topping
  • 1 cup plain chopped tomatoes sauce, plus a little pinch of sugar, salt to taste
  • other ingredients to your taste
  • fresh mozzarella, cut into 1.5 cm / 0.59 inches square pieces (making big pieces is important to prevent mozzarella from burning during the cooking time)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 230°C / 450°F / gas mark 8.
  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water and/or milk, sugar and butter, then mix all the ingredients (add the remain water and salt at last) to form a smooth, soft and no sticky dough (If it’s too sticky add a little flour otherwise add more water).
  3. Knead for about 20 minutes.
  4. Let rest for 5 minutes, cover your pizza pan with baking paper and roll out the dough.
  5. Cover with a lid or a plastic wrap to avoid the dough from drying and let rise for at least 2 hours (4 if using mother yeast).
  6. Dress pizza with tomato sauce, other ingredients to your taste and mozzarella.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes.

 

Vera Pizza Napoletana (Real Neapolitan Pizza)

I’m really a pizza addict. For about 5 years I tried to achieve every information, every secret to be able to make a delicious Neapolitan pizza at home quite like those you eat in pizzeria…. with success.


vera pizza napoletana real neapolitan pizza best italian

It’s not as difficult as it seems, it takes more to write it and when you have all the information in your mind you’ll go faster.

In the web there are lots of pizza recipes, but what I’m writing here is based on the real pizza napoletana disciplinary that contains technical specifications (here you can find the whole text: http://www.pizzanapoletana.org/public/pdf/disciplinare%202008%20UK.pdf).

As written in the disciplinary, the “vera pizza napoletana” (real Neapolitan pizza) should be soft, flexible, easy to fold like a booklet, with the typical taste coming from well-grown/well-baked and bread-taste crust mixed with the slightly acidic flavour of tomato sauce and the respective aroma of oregano and garlic or basil and cooked mozzarella flavour.

The cooking method is very important for the final result so you must use a pizza baking stone.
pizza baking stone neapolitanYou can find it in home centers or in online shops.

Vera Pizza Napoletana (Real Neapolitan Pizza)

Difficulty: hard
Preparation: 6 to 10 hours Cooking Time: 3 to 5 minutes
Yield: 10 to 15 servings

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 1 liters / 2.2 lbs water (spring if possible)
  • 50-55 grams / 1.7-1.9 ounces sea salt
  • 3 grams / 0.10 ounces hydrated yeast (you can also use 425-450 grams / 15-15.80 ounces mother yeast or 0.84 grams active dry yeast)
  • 1.7-1.8 Kg / 3.7-3.9 lbs all-purpose flour

…Yes you don’t have to use olive oil!

Condiments:

  • plain chopped tomato sauce, plus a little pinch of sugar, salt to taste
  • oregano and a slice of garlic or few basil leaves (I prefer using just basil)
  • fridge-chilled fresh mozzarella, cut into 1.5 cm / 0.59 inches square pieces (making big pieces and use a fridge-chilled mozzarella is important to prevent pizza from become watery during the cooking time)

These ingredients are for 10 to 15 pizzas, I suggest you to reduce quantities by a half.

Instructions:

Put water into a mixer, add salt and 10% of flour (170-180 grams / 6-6.3 ounces).
Add yeast, start the mixer and phase the rest of flour in.
Let knead the dough for at least 20/30 minutes, it should be soft, smooth and no sticky.

Let rest the dough for 2 hours covered with a plastic-wrap at 25°C/77°F (I put it in the oven and switch on the light).

Cut the dough into 180-250 grams / 6.3-6.8 ounces pieces and shape them into balls (I usually cut them into 200 grams / 7 ounces).
For each ball, stretch the top down and around the rest of the ball until the outer layer wraps around the other side. Pinch the two ends together and make a smooth ball.
Put your balls stitch-side down in a rising tray (alimentary case) dusted with flour and cover with a lid or a plastic wrap to prevent the ball from drying out (space out balls 8 cm /3 inches).

Let rise 4-6 hours.

pizza balls

Dust with flour the work bench and put a dough ball on it. Flip it over.
With a motion from the center to the outside, and with the pressure of the fingers of both the hands on the dough ball, shape into a thin flat disk and remind to DO NOT TOUCH THE EDGES or you won’t have your pizza napoletana crust (center is no more thick than 0.3cm/0.11 inches and edge is not more than 1-2 cm / 0.4-0.8 inches).

home pizza ball stretch pizza

how stretching pizzahow make home pizza movement

DO NOT use rolling-pin because the air included in the dough has to move from the centre towards the outer edge.

Cooking procedures (at home)

Put the pizza baking stone over the top rack of the oven.
Preheat oven to the highest possible temperature for at least 30 minutes (static).

3 minutes before putting pizza in the oven, switch the oven to the broil setting (switch on the grill). This allow to increase the stone temperature. (in pizzeria oven has to reach 485°C/905°F and pizza cooks in 60-90 seconds).

Return to the static setting when cooking pizza.

Take a pizza pan, put it upside down, or you can take an aluminium pizza peel (I do not suggest to use a wood one because pizza won’t slide easily into the oven), dust it with flour.

Lay down pizza into it and quickly add tomato sauce, mozzarella and other ingredients to your taste. Doing this quickly is important to prevent the dough from sticking onto the surface.

making pizza at home neapolitan pizza making

Quickly open the oven, let slide pizza into the pizza baking stone, close the oven.
Let cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the crust is quite crispy and has lost its white color (do not open the oven for the first 1-2 minutes).
Open the oven, put a fork in to the crust and slide out pizza into a plate.
Taste it…. isn’t it so delicious???

Pizza baking stone makes a huge difference in the taste of your home-made Neapolitan pizza, so I suggest you to really buy one, it’s worth.

authentic neapoletan vera pizza napoletana best

Remember… “home-made strikes back!

Vera Pizza Napoletana (Real Neapolitan Pizza)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Authentic Neapolitan Pizza Recipe at home like in Pizzeria
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 10
Ingredients
For the dough
  • 1 liters / 2.2 lbs water (spring if possible)
  • 50-55 grams / 1.7-1.9 ounces sea salt
  • 3 grams / 0.10 ounces hydrated yeast (or 425-450 grams / 15-15.80 ounces mother yeast or 0.84 grams active dry yeast)
  • 1.7-1.8 Kg / 3.7-3.9 lbs all-purpose flour
Condiments
  • plain chopped tomato sauce, plus a little pinch of sugar, salt to taste OR oregano and a slice of garlic OR few basil leaves (I prefer using just basil)
  • fridge-chilled fresh mozzarella, cut into 1.5 cm / 0.59 inches square pieces
Instructions
To make the dough
  1. Put water into a mixer, add salt and 10% of flour (170-180 grams / 6-6.3 ounces).
  2. Add yeast, start the mixer and phase the rest of flour in.
  3. Let knead the dough for at least 20/30 minutes, it should be soft, smooth and no sticky.
  4. Let rest the dough for 2 hours covered with a plastic-wrap at 25°C/77°F (I put it in the oven and switch on the light).
  5. Cut the dough into 180-250 grams / 6.3-6.8 ounces pieces and shape them into balls (I usually cut them into 200 grams / 7 ounces).
  6. For each ball, stretch the top down and around the rest of the ball until the outer layer wraps around the other side. Pinch the two ends together and make a smooth ball.
  7. Put your balls stitch-side down in a rising tray (alimentary case) dusted with flour and cover with a lid or a plastic wrap to prevent the ball from drying out (space out balls 8 cm /3 inches).
  8. Let rise 4-6 hours.
  9. Dust with flour the work bench and put a dough ball on it. Flip it over.
  10. With a motion from the center to the outside, and with the pressure of the fingers of both the hands on the dough ball, shape into a thin flat disk and remind to DO NOT TOUCH THE EDGES or you won’t have your pizza napoletana crust (center is no more thick than 0.3cm/0.11 inches and edge is not more than 1-2 cm / 0.4-0.8 inches).
  11. DO NOT use a rolling-pin
Cooking procedures at home
  1. Put the pizza baking stone over the top rack of the oven.
  2. Preheat oven to the highest possible temperature for at least 30 minutes (static).
  3. minutes before putting pizza in the oven, switch the oven to the broil setting (switch on the grill). This allow to increase the stone temperature (in pizzeria oven has to reach 485°C/905°F and pizza cooks in 60-90 seconds).
  4. Return to the static setting when cooking pizza.
  5. Take a pizza pan, put it upside down, or you can take an aluminium pizza peel (I do not suggest to use a wood one because pizza won’t slide easily into the oven), dust it with flour.
  6. Lay down pizza into it and quickly add tomato sauce, mozzarella and other ingredients to your taste. Doing this quickly is important to prevent the dough from sticking onto the surface.
  7. Quickly open the oven, let slide pizza into the pizza baking stone, close the oven.
  8. Let cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the crust is quite crispy and has lost its white color (do not open the oven for the first 1-2 minutes).
  9. Open the oven, put a fork in to the crust and slide out pizza into a plate.

Holidays and mother yeast

beach holiday palm tree sourdough mother yeast

Mother yeast or sourdough starter is like a pet, you have to feed it every 4-5 days…. but when you have to go on holiday and you cannot bring it with you, what should you do???




Don’t worry, there’s always a solution…. in that case you’re lucky, there are 3!

  • Freezing
    Refresh your mother yeast as usual and at the end of the rising process put it in the freezer.
    After your holiday you will have to let it thaw before use.
  • Drying
    Weigh your mother yeast, put it in a mixer then add the same amount of flour, let it process until it became uniform (no lumps).
    Put the mixture on a flat surface and allow to dry completely (1-2 days).
    Store in a cotton bag in a dry place up to three months.
    To revitalize it, put dry mother yeast in a bowl, add half its weight of warm water (necessary to form a smooth dough) then proceed the refresh as usual.

These 2 solutions will reduce mother yeast strength, so you’ll have to refresh it consecutively 3 times at least (refresh, let it rise then refresh it…).

  • Increase amount of mother yeast
    This is the solution I like the most because doesn’t stress mother yeast too much.
    Take all of your mother yeast and refresh it. Do this until it weigh more than 800gr/1.75 lb.
    Store in the fridge as usual for 10-15 days, but remember to refresh it when it’s dropped by a third or you will lose it.

How to use Mother Yeast or Sourdough Starter

If you’re reading this post, you certainly have created your mother yeast or sourdough starter, so… Well Done! Now, how do you use it? What can you bake?




sourdough starter mother yeast bread

There’s a hearsay telling that it’s very hard to understand how to use mother yeast…. but it’s absolutely not true! It’s very easy and here is the explanation.
The good thing is that you can use every recipe you want, just skipping “buy yeast”.

(Be aware that everything I write here is about mother yeast dough, not liquid)

If your mother yeast is in the fridge, let it rest for about 2 hours at room temperature to waking it up.

Take a piece of mother yeast (refresh and store the remaining part as usual), add liquids (water, milk, etc..) and mix a little bit. Add other ingredients (salt must always be mixed at the end and not in contact with yeast to avoid loss of strength).

One advice: dissolve mother yeast in warm water (or other liquids) before adding flour, otherwise if you add it directly to the flour it will lose its strength and will take much more time to resume.

Let rise the dough in a warm place (I usually put it in the oven with the light on – 100°F/37°C) near some ripe fruit (this help the rising process) or nothing if you’ve already baked something.

You can put the dough to rise in a cool place, but this will take longer and your dough will be more acidic (cool temperatures encourage development of acetic acid instead of lactic acid – for more information read what’s mother yeast page).

So if you have to delay the rising process I suggest to use less mother yeast but if you cannot do this put it in a warm place for almost half the rising process time, then put it in the refrigerator (just overnight and before using/bake it let rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours).

How much mother yeast you should use?

If you want your dough to rise in 3-4 hours add mother yeast to the ingredients in the amount of 40% of recipe flour (e.g. for 500gr of flour use 200gr of mother yeast – for 2 cups of flour use less than a cup of mother yeast).

For 4-6 hours use 25%, 6-8 hours use 15% and decrease so on… (the rising time depends also on your mother yeast strength, so don’t worry if your dough rise slowly, just refresh mother yeast 2-3 times before using it in recipes to strengthen it up).

The more you leave the dough to rise, the better results you have and this also applies for every kind of dough. Easy, isn’t it?