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Gnocchi alla Romana

Roman Gnocchi are made with semolina and are quite different from the more well-known potato gnocchi served with pasta sauce.

These gnocchi can be prepared a day or two in advance, wrapped and stored in the refrigerator in the slab form or as circles.   They can be served individually in small gratin dishes as a starter, or served to accompany rich meat stew dishes or ragu.

Serves 4, makes approx. 30 round circles


1 litre milk
250g coarse grain semolina flour
2 teaspoons sea salt 
50g unsalted butter + extra for lining the gratin dish
150g parmesan, grated + 2 tablespoons for baking & serving
6 egg yolks
½ tsp of nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper

Topping: Optional
50g butter, melted
Small bunch of sage

• Heat the milk to just a simmering point, try not to let it boil.  Season with salt.

• Pour in the semolina in a steady stream, whisking at first until it starts to thicken, then use a wooden spoon. Stir frequently to prevent lumps and the base of the pan burning or browning too much.  Cook for about 10 –15 mins. 
• When the mixture is thick and has cooked, remove from the heat for a 
minute.  Add the butter, parmesan pepper and nutmeg.  Mix well, then add the egg yolks and quickly mix properly again. 

• Taste for seasoning, then pour into a gratin dish or tray lined with cling film or greaseproof paper and leave to cool for several hours or in the fridge
overnight.  The firmer the mixture, the easier it is to unmold.

• Preheat the oven to 190C/ 350F Gas mark 5.  Lightly butter a gratin 
dish. Use a thin edged glass or 5cm pastry cutter and a jug of water. Wet the glass so it doesn’t become too sticky with the gnocchi mixture and cut out into circular shapes.  You can mould with your hands if you prefer.  Place the gnocchi in the dish, overlapping to get the most in the dish.  

• Gently melt the remaining butter with the sage to infuse the flavours.  
Drizzle over half the butter and all of the sage.  Sprinkle over a tablespoon of remaining parmesan. Bake in the oven for about 20 mins or until golden brown on top. You don’t want to over cook or they will dry out.

• Serve the gnocchi straight away with the remaining melted butter and 
parmesan on their own or with some meat stew or ragu.


Sophie Braimbridge is a London-based chef, writer, teacher and cookery presenter, known for her innovative, witty style.

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