Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wonderful semolina

Our 'not buying it' philosophy is still tracking well, and when we ran out of pasta last week, I reached for the semolina to make gnocchi alla romana to go with the tomato sauce from the freezer rather than fetch more from the shop. I seldom make this dish, but when I do there's always the, 'yes, this is so good, why don't we make it more often?' feeling. Its not hard to do, but its a tad time consuming on a 'school night'.

I used the simple and easy recipe from my trusty Women's Weekly Italian Cooking Class Cookbook

3 cups milk
2/3 cup fine semolina (the better the semolina, the better the gnocchi, I use organic from the Co-Op)
11/2 teaspoons salt
pinch nutmeg
1 egg (organic and free range is best)
125 g parmeesan cheese (once again, it is the parmesan that gives this dish the flavour, so use a good one)
60 g butter (organic)

Step 1
In a large, heavy based saucepan, bring the milk, salt and nutmeg to boil, reduce heat. Add semolina gradually (if you don't do this you'll have to beat like hell to get out the lumps), stir constantly with a wooden spoon (why? I have no idea, but who am I too quibble with the Women's Weekly)

Continue cooking, uncovered, stirring often so it doesn't stick to the bottom of your saucepan, 10 to 15 minutes, until the spoon can stand unsupported in the semolina mine usually takes way less, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 2
Combine the lightly beaten egg and one cup of the grated parmesan, add to semolina mixture. Stir well till everything is combined. Spread mixture into a well-oiled oven tray, smooth with wet spatula until about 5 mm thick. Refrigerate one hour or until semolina is firm.

Step 3
Cut semolina into circles, using 4cm pastry cutter (as if, I use a glass!). Arrange in overlapping circles in your baking dish, pour over melted butter and sprinkle remining grted parmesan. Bake in a moderate oven 15 to 20 minutespr until crisp and golden.

Serves 4 to 6.

Here's the final result... doesn't look that appetising, but it is really quite scrumptious

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