Gnocchi di zucca alla romana con crema di gorgonzola
"Gnocchi alla romana," or Roman-style gnocchi, are made with semolina flour (a durum wheat flour often used in making pasta) instead of potatoes, and rather than being small, round dumplings cooked in boiling water, they are flat, round discs that are arranged in a baking dish and baked. This variation adds in pumpkin, for a toothsome autumn version, with a savory, piquant Gorgonzola topping. Gorgonzola is basically the Italian version of blue cheese, and you can substitute it with blue cheese if you can't find Gorgonzola.
- 4 cups (about 1 liter) whole milk
- 5.5 tablespoons (80 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
- 1-3/4 cups (10.3 ounces/292 grams) semolina flour
- one 15-ounce (about 400 grams) can of pumpkin puree
- 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 1 cup (about 106 grams) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces/57 grams) Gorgonzola or blue cheese, cubed or crumbled
- Preheat oven to 390 F (200 C).
- Place the milk and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a sufficiently large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add salt and nutmeg. As soon as the milk begins to bubble, slowly sprinkle in the semolina flour while whisking vigorously to avoid forming clumps.
- Lower the heat to low and continue to cook, whisking continuously until the mixture is even and starts to thicken about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the pumpkin puree, egg yolks, and the grated Parmigiano, mixing with a whisk until well blended.
- Transfer the mixture to a shallow baking sheet or tray that has been lightly greased with butter and spread it evenly with a rubber spatula (moistened with water to avoid sticking) to a thickness of about 1/2 inch (about 1 cm). Let sit to cool and firm up about 5 to 10 minutes, then with a 2 inch (about 5 cm)-diameter biscuit- or cookie--cutter (or you can use a floured drinking glass of about the same diameter), stamp out circular gnocchi.
- Arrange the gnocchi in overlapping rows in a buttered baking dish. Melt the remaining 3.5 tablespoons (note that 1/2 tablespoon equals 1-1/2 teaspoons) of butter and sprinkle it evenly over the top of the gnocchi.
- Bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the top is lightly browned.
Storage and Make-ahead
Store leftovers in a refrigerator for up to 2 days or you can prepare the dish ahead of time just up to the point of sprinkling it with the Gorgonzola and freeze it, to be baked later (no need to defrost it first).
- Add a few chopped walnuts and/or fresh sage leaves on top of the arranged gnocchi together with the cubes of gorgonzola before baking.
- For a more golden-brown top, sprinkle the top of the dish with additional grated Parmigiano-Reggiano before baking, and/or transfer the dish to under a broiler for a minute or two before serving.