So ... the last time I made gnocchi I made small spinach and ricotta gnocchi. They were small, loose cheesy pasta dumplings the size of a walnut. These semolina gnocchi are each quarter cup sized pillows that are fluffy and light. Infinitely easier to make, this gnocchi recipe is a keeper.
We chose to have ours with a basil tomato sauce spooned over top, but one could get really inventive here. A wonderful creamy mushroom sauce would be heavenly. How about slivers of prosciutto and Parmesan cheese with a browned sage butter sauce? Or drizzles of kale pesto over top ? Or spring vegetables in a lemon butter sauce? I could go on.
However you choose to serve your gnocchi, I think you'll like this preparation of the basic dough. It's fast and easy and using a quarter cup measure that is moistened in a bowl of water is pure genius as far as I'm concerned. I found this recipe in an America Test Kitchen cookbook. Sometimes they really DO get it right ... no matter how obnoxious I find Christopher Kimball, he has good people in his kitchen studios!
Here's the recipe. Enjoy!
Simple Semolina Gnocchi
2 1/2 c. whole milk
3/4 tsp Kosher salt
4 tbsp. cold butter, divided
1 large egg
1/3 c. grated Gruyere cheese
1 c. semolina flour (fine grind)
1 tsp. minced rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
Making the Gnocchi:
1. Heat the milk, salt, and nutmeg in a small saucepan until it is scalded (bubbles forming at the outer rim of the pan, but no boiling) over medium-low heat.
2. Lower the heat to low and using a whisk, slowly sprinkle the semolina flour into the simmering milk, whisking to keep it lump free. Switch over to a heavy spoon and continue stirring the dough until it begins to ball up and pull away from the pan's sides. It will be very stiff. This process takes about three minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes.
4. Beat the egg lightly in a small bowl and cut 3 tbsp. of the butter into small lumps. Add the egg and butter (a few lumps at a time, and stir the dough vigorously to incorporate the egg and butter. Add more butter until all three tablespoons have been stirred in.
5. Fold in the grated Gruyere, baking powder, and chopped rosemary.
6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, get a quarter cup measure and a bowl of water ready.
7. Dip the quarter cup measure in the water to wet the interior of the cup. Scoop a quarter cup of the dough into the measure, press in with a knife and level the cup with the flat side of the knife.
8. Knock the dough patty onto the baking sheet and repeat. Dip, scoop, level plop. You should get 12 gnocchi.
9. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. This chills the butter and egg up and sets the gnocchi and it dries the outer surface a bit so it holds its shape.
10. Butter a baking dish with the last 1 tbsp. of butter and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
11. Lay the chilled gnocchi in the baking dish, overlapping the edges just a wee bit.
12. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese and bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 35 minutes or until the gnocchi are plump and golden.
13. Cool the gnocchi for several minutes before serving. Scoop them to a plate and serve them with your choice of sauces.