Gnocchi alla Romana (Semolina Baked Gnocchi)
In my family, noodle kugel is a holiday staple, especially during the Yom Kippur break-fast. A baked pasta dish that can be served warm or cold, gnocchi alla Romana is Rome’s answer to the noodle kugel and is especially fitting because of the famous Jewish ghetto in Rome. This dish tastes even better the day after it is prepared, and it can last up to three days in the refrigerator, which means that you can prepare it a day or two before Yom Kippur, slice it and refrigerate it. Then, after the fast, reheat the squares in the oven and serve with the accompaniments of your choice. I like it topped with hazelnut pesto, fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano and toasted almonds or with a simple roasted pepper salad on the side.
- 2 quarts whole milk
- 3 cups semolina flour
- 2 cups Parmesan cheese, finely grated (plus more for sprinkling)
- ½ pound (2 sticks) butter, unsalted, cut into small cubes
- 4 egg yolks
- Salt to taste
- In a saucepan, bring milk to a boil over medium heat. While the milk is heating up, butter a baking sheet with sides and put aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- When the milk is just at a boil, slowly pour the semolina flour in while whisking. The mixture will thicken almost immediately. Continue whisking for 2 minutes, then trade the whisk for a rubber spatula. Add the Parmesan and butter to the saucepan and mix well.
- Take the pot off of the heat and fold in the egg yolks until they are fully incorporated. Pour the mixture into the buttered sheet tray and flatten evenly. Scatter more Parmesan on top.
- Bake the gnocchi for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the Parmesan has browned nicely on top. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes.
- When cool enough to handle, either cut them directly in the baking tray or invert the pan onto a cutting board. The gnocchi should slide off the tray easily. Cut into large squares and serve them warm with more Parmesan sprinkled on top. Alternatively, refrigerate for up to 3 days and reheat in the oven when ready to serve.