Sunday, May 3, 2015

Semolina Gnocchi

The most recent edition of Cook’s Illustrated arrived in the mail and, as I was flipping through, the recipe for Semolina Gnocchi caught my eye.  

Well now, I just may have to make those little Roman-style discs of savory baked dough.

Then we arrive at C.’s house last week (actually it was two Wednesdays ago, but who’s counting) and what do you think was on the menu….the Cook’s Illustrated version of Semolina Gnocchi.  

Talk about a happy crew.

If you don’t subscribe to Cook’s Illustrated, I hope you will consider doing so.  I’m not a paid spokeswoman or anything but I enjoy this magazine because the test-kitchen stories that accompany the recipes are just as informative as the instructions — and entertaining.  Plus the reader tips are quite useful…like the one for adding a marshmallow to brown sugar to absorb the moisture to prevent the sugar from becoming a rock.

A marshmallow…who would have thought?  It absorbs the moisture.

Semolina gnocchi are not like the luscious little pillows you are used to eating, they are more like dumplings, but just as delicious and addictive.  The writer of the CI article had these little gems in a restaurant and went on a quest to recreate the perfect combination of flour, liquid, egg and cheese.  First, the testers adjusted the liquid to buttery semolina flour ratio to adjust consistency problems with the trial recipes, and the perfect result was 2 1/2 cups of liquid to one cup of semolina.  Next, the testers substituted all milk for any other liquid which gave the gnocchi a rich, creamy flavor. Then they added only one beaten egg.

Softer cheeses did not have enough oomph (because of the moisture) so Gruyere it was and a bit of Parmesan. The woodsy, earthy flavors were introduced complements of rosemary and nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder perked things up a bit.

Shaping was a cinch with a 1/4 measuring cup and to make sure they kept their shape when served, the gnocchi spent 30 minutes hanging out in the refrigerator before baking

C. served with a simple tomato sauce, like Marcella Hazan’s, but these would be lovely with a brown butter sage sauce too. 

Semolina Gnocchi
by:  Cook’s Illustrated

2 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch nutmeg
1 cup of semolina flour
4 tablespoons salted butter
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (1/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 400 degrees.  Heat milk, salt and nutmeg in a medium saucepan over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges of the plan.  Whisking constantly, slowly add the semolina to milk mixture.  Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often with rubber spatula, until mixture is stiff and pulls away from the sides when stirring, 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

Stir 3 tablespoons butter and the beaten egg into semolina mixture until incorporated (the mixture will slowly become smooth and shiny).  Stir in the Gruyere, rosemary and baking powder until incorporated.

Fill a small bowl with water.  Moisten a 1/4 dry measuring cup with water and scoop even portions into the cup, inverting each form onto a large plate.  Repeat until mixture is used (you should get about 12) and place the tray of gnocchi in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours if covered.

Rub interior of an 8-inch square baking dish with the remaining butter.  Shingle the gnocchi in the pan, creating 3 rows of 4 gnocchi each, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.  Let cook for 15 minutes and top with your favorite sauce.

I made raspberry brownies for dessert and they did not cooperate coming out of the pan. To improvise, we had brownie crumble sundaes with vanilla ice cream and fresh raspberries.  

I found out last weekend that a dear friend used to work for Martha…one degree of separation…I almost peed my pants. 


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this! Can't wait to try. One small note--in the last sentence you say "let cook for 15 minutes" but I think you mean "let cool." Importance difference :)

Anonymous said...

Great recipe - into the regular rotation at my house! Also, I think the amount of rosemary is missing, FYI.

Thanks for posting!