Last night I cooked something I haven’t had in ages: oven baked semolina gnocchi. It was in the search for something to do with the leftover pumpkin of the Halloween carving that I stumbled upon this recipe, a variation of the classic gnocchi alla romana, which combine semolina with four, egg and milk.
This version relies on semolina and pumpkin only, with a egg yolk to bind the mixture and a little flour to dust each dumpling.I also added nutmeg and sage, the first because it just goes so well with pumpkin, the second because without it my childhood memories of oven baked gnocchi couldn’t be relived.
‘Giovedì gnocchi’ goes the old Italian adagio that allocates a dish to a particular day of the week. Neither my nan or my mum ever followed this too strictly (although my nan would never cook meat on a Friday, following the catholic tradition of the giorno di magro) but every time gnocchi would be on the menu, even on a Monday, they would say the phrase loudly while confidently dumping the steaming dish on the table in front of my puzzled eyes.
And gnocchi would mean any gnocchi. My all time favourites were the traditional potato gnocchi, but at times I was surprised to find their slightly more unusual semolina sibling, giving out an enticing aroma of sage, butter and freshly grated Parmesan.
My experiment last night lived up to the expectations: the smell was recreated almost to memory and the old Italian adagio popped in my mind just before I served them. ‘Giovedì gnocchi’ I declaimed with a smile (it was Monday), while my English boyfriend looked at me with a baffled expression.
Health score: 5