Gnocchi alla Romana

I receive a daily email from La Cucina Italiana – in Italian. There are usually one or two ideas that look promising – and I do have to admit that Google Translate can really be a hoot when it comes to translating food ingredients and cooking terms.

This morning, Victor said he was going to make some sweet potato gnocchi just to have. He wanted to make a small gnocchi salad and then freeze the rest for dinner some day. It’s great to have homemade items in the freezer for those brain-dead what-should-we-have-for-dinner days…

While he went off to make gnocchi, I opened the La Cucina email – all about gnocchi!

I scrolled through quite a few recipes and landed on one called Gnocchi alla Romana – something I had never heard of before. After a quick look at the pictures and ingredients, I knew it was dinner, tonight! I had already planned shrimp, and the gnocchi looked like the perfect accompaniment.

Gnocchi alla Romana


  • 1 L milk
  • 250 g semolina
  • 120 g butter
  • 80 g grated parmesan
  • 2 egg yolks
  • nutmeg
  • salt


1. Bring the milk to a boil with half a liter of water, 20 g of butter and a pinch of salt. At the boil, pour in the semolina, stirring first with a whisk and then, as soon as it begins to thicken, with a spoon. Cook the obtained polenta for about 15′.

2. Turn off the heat and season with a sprinkling of nutmeg, a tablespoon of parmesan cheese and the egg yolks.

3. Pour the polenta onto a tray soaked with water and level it, smoothing it with a spatula, to a thickness of 1.5-2 cm and let it cool completely.

Gnocchi alla Romana

4. Cut the gnocchi into the polenta layer with a round pastry cutter or with a small glass (ø 5 cm).

Gnocchi alla Romana

5. Melt 80 g of butter in a small pan; butter the baking dish with another piece of butter (or portion dishes) and arrange the gnocchi in layers. Sprinkle with plenty of grated parmesan and sprinkle with melted butter. Finally, put them in the oven at 200 ° C until they are grilled on the surface.
Gnocchi alla Romana

The sauce was an on-the-fly creation. I went for something a bit bold against the rich creaminess of the gnocchi – olives and roasted red peppers.

Shrimp Sauce

  • shrimp
  • white wine
  • leeks
  • garlic
  • roasted red peppers
  • crushed red pepper
  • olive tapenade

Saute leeks until slightly wilted. Stir in garlic. Add white wine and simmer a bit until leeks are tender. Add chopped roasted red peppers, crushed red peppers, to taste, and tapenade. Stir in shrimp and simmer until cooked through.

Check for seasoning and add salt & pepper, as desired.

This is one of those things that almost defies description. It’s called a gnocchi, referred to as polenta in the recipe, and tastes like creamy heaven. The gnocchi literally melt in your mouth, covering your tongue with an almost custard-like sensation. Perfection on a plate.

We knew it was a winner because we ate in almost complete silence – except for the ooh’s and ahh’s that would occasionally escape our lips between bites. We were much too busy eating to talk.

The recipe made a lot, and we have another two meals in the freezer.

This is fun!

Gnocchi alla Romana