Classic Roman Gnocchi Recipe – Italian Comfort Food at Its Best

Authentic Italian Gnocchi Recipe: Enjoy Classic Roman Comfort Food

Discover the rich history of Italian cuisine with this classic Roman Semolina Gnocchi recipe. Before the arrival of New World ingredients, Italy’s culinary landscape was devoid of tomato-based sauces, corn polenta, and potato gnocchi. However, gnocchi still held a place of honor on Italian tables, with gnocchi alla Romana leading the way. This baked version, made with semolina, egg, cheese, and butter, offers a creamy, comforting taste of Italy’s pre-Columbian past.

Recipe Highlights:

  • Adding butter and cheese to the semolina before the egg prevents the yolks from scrambling.
  • Using wet hands and tools while working with the semolina dough ensures a smooth, stick-free experience.

Authentic Roman Semolina Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla Romana) Recipe


  • 6 cups milk
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semolina flour
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more for greasing
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for grating
  • 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten


  1. In a large saucepan, heat milk over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally to prevent scorching, until steaming. Season well with salt. While whisking constantly, sprinkle in semolina in a fine shower to prevent lumps; the mixture will thicken and become difficult to whisk. Once all semolina is added, lower heat to medium-low, switch to a stiff rubber spatula or wooden spoon and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until a sticky, dough-like mass forms and begins to pull away from sides of saucepan, 10 to 15 minutes; make sure to stir deep into corners and all over bottom of saucepan to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in 4 tablespoons of butter until melted and thoroughly incorporated. Stir in cheese until melted and thoroughly incorporated. Scrape in egg yolks and stir until thoroughly incorporated.
  3. Scrape semolina dough into a buttered rimmed baking sheet. Using a wet rubber spatula or wet clean hands, and re-wetting frequently to prevent sticking, press and smooth semolina dough into an even layer about 1/2 inch thick. It’s okay if the dough does not fully reach all edges of the baking sheet, as long as it’s even throughout. Press plastic wrap against the surface and refrigerate until set, at least 40 minutes and up to overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 450°F. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter or similarly sized glass, cut semolina into rounds (scraps can be saved and refrigerated for up to 4 days: deep fry in oil for a snack, or assemble in a smaller baking dish to make a mini version of this dish). Grease a large baking dish or ovenproof skillet with butter. Using a thin metal spatula, scrape each semolina round from the baking sheet and arrange in an overlapping pattern in the prepared dish or skillet.
  5. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and drizzle all over semolina gnocchi. Grate Parmigiano-Reggiano generously all over. Bake until gnocchi are sizzling hot and browned on top, about 15 minutes. Serve, passing more grated cheese at the table.

Delicious Variations

  • Herb-infused Gnocchi: Add fresh herbs like sage or rosemary to the semolina mixture for an aromatic twist.
  • Truffle Gnocchi: Drizzle with truffle oil before serving for a luxurious touch.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
512 Calories
28g Fat
44g Carbs
21g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 512
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 16g 80%
Cholesterol 196mg 65%
Sodium 724mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 21g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 443mg 34%
Iron 2mg 14%
Potassium 487mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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