Gnocchi alla Romana
Excerpted from Noodle Kids by Chef Jonathon Sawyer of Noodlecat.com
Sometimes we make this dish just as it’s written here. Other times I make soft polenta to serve with supper one night and I save the leftovers to make this dish later in the week. All you have to do is add the flour, cheese, and eggs. Cooking in large batches and using all the leftovers is something we do in the restaurant. It makes a lot of sense at home, too.
6 cups (1410 ml) whole organic milk
3 tablespoons (42 g) salted butter
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups (280 g) polenta or semolina
1 tablespoon (8 g) all-purpose organic flour
2 cups (200 g) grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, divided
2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (235 ml) of your favorite tomato sauce
Two square (9 inches, or 23 cm each) baking dishes
Round cookie cutter
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180ºC, or gas mark 4) and grease two baking dishes.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the milk, butter, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Add the polenta in a slow, steady stream while whisking vigorously. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the polenta has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in the flour and 12/3 cups (165 g) of the cheese. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and then stir in the eggs.
Pour the mixture into one baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and cool in the refrigerator.
Using the round cookie cutter, cut the cooled polenta into circles. Layer the rounds in concentric circles in the other baking dish. Top with the tomato sauce and the remaining 1/3 cup (35 g) cheese. Bake until golden brown and delicious, about 25 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings
If you are using an heirloom variety of polenta, good for you. Just follow the package cooking instructions before adding the cheese and eggs. Some types of heirloom polentas can take as long as 3 hours to cook.
"There is nothing that sings in the key of joy like a happy child and almost nothing that brings me to a higher plane than a delicious plate of pasta. Chef/dad/genius Jonathon Sawyer has combined the two to create this handbook of tasty euphoria that makes the celebration of the creation and sharing of simple and delightful noodle-bound happiness as a family the ultimate expression of love and collaboration. This book will make you, your kids and their pals, (and your childish friends) a happy, jubilant choir of yum." - Mario Batali, chef, restaurateur, writer, and media personality