Semolina is a yellow flour made from durum wheat, that is the main ingredient of pasta. It is usually used in baking to flour the baking surface to prevent sticking. Today I used it in a very traditional Italian recipe (from Rome): semolina gnocchi. Compared to the standard potato gnocchi, the semolina ones are creamier and baked, not boiled.
I like comparing semolina gnocchi to the American “mac&cheese” recipe: easy, fast and comforting. Like “mac&cheese” kids love this recipe and you can play with the extra ingredient to add. Today I opted for ham, but you can go even healthier with peas, carrots, broccoli or other veggies 🙂
You can also play with the shape of the gnocchi. Being San Valentine this week, heart shape was a must, but any shape you like works! The traditional recipe uses round shape cookie cutters.
Where to start? place the milk in a sauce pan with a pinch of salt at medium heat and let it boil. Yes, the milk technically doesn’t boil…when you will see that tiny bubbles are formed around the corners and a tiny layer of milk is thickening on the surface, that’s when the milk is “boiling”.
Add the semolina flour slowly and whisk everything. the semolina will almost immediately thicken forming a nice cream. Turn the heat off and add the other ingredients: the egg yolks, the butter, the Parmesan cheese, the ham. Stir everything together.
Place the mix on a parchment paper on a baking tray and level it with a spatula in order to obtain a 3/4 inch thick layer. Let it cool down for 30min.
Use any cookie cutter of your choice to cut out semolina gnocchi and place them in a oven proof tray one next to the other or even slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top and, if you want, some butter (totally optional!).
Bake the gnocchi in the oven at 200F for 15 minutes and broil them for an additional 5 minutes in order to give them a nice golden look! Serve them warm and enjoy!