Most people would have tried potato or spinach gnocchi at some stage, but this scrumptious variation bears only a slight resemblance to those dumplings. Semolina gnocchi is known in Italian as gnocchi alla Romana, which is based on durum wheat (basically semolina, with a higher protein content) and cut into squares, then grilled and dressed with a simple sauce, such as burnt butter. It is also delicious baked, topped with butter, herbs and a good Parmigiano Regiano (otherwise known as A grade Parmesan cheese).

Either way it is a delicious variation. Here is a recipe, so get cracking.


  • 1 litre (4 cups) Full cream milk
  • 220gm (7oz) semolina (coarse or fine, makes no difference)
  • 60gm (2oz) butter
  • 60gm (2oz) Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


    Bring the milk gently to the simmer then take off heat. Whisk the semolina into the milk in a fine stream to avoid lumps. Place back on a low heat and stir until the mixture begins to thicken, this will take 5 minutes or so. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to stir for a further 10 minutes. Have ready a greased shallow cooking tray and pour in the hot semolina mixture, smoothing down with an oiled spatula. Cover and place in the refigerator until set, about 1 hour, or leave overnight, in which case cover with plastic wrap.

    To serve, cut the semolina into 5 cm squares and grill until golden brown. Alternatively, top with more Parmesan and good quality olive oil and bake at 200°C (390°F) for about 10 minutes.

    This gnocchi goes particularly well with lamb. Vegetarians can serve them with sauteed mushrooms and burnt butter or with a nice tomato sauce and a green salad.

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