Baked semolina gnocchi

Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow
Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow 

These are easier to make than potato gnocchi as the texture is less likely to be temperamental. You could assemble this dish a few hours ahead, then bake it half an hour or so before you need it. It's a good dish to serve when entertaining, and it goes well with a rich meat braise.


1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) milk

1 fresh bay leaf

250 g (9 oz/1 1/3 cups) fine semolina

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 egg yolks

100 g (3 1/2 oz) butter, chopped, plus extra softened butter for greasing

165 g (5 3/4 oz/1 2/3 cups) finely shredded parmesan cheese

rocket (arugula) salad, to serve


1. Combine the milk and bay leaf in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Bring to the boil then, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps from forming, add the semolina in a slow, steady stream. Stirring vigorously, cook over medium-low heat for 6-7 minutes, or until the mixture is very thick. Remove from the heat and cool slightly, remove the bay leaf then stir in the nutmeg, egg yolks, 25 g (1 oz) of the butter and half the parmesan cheese. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. While still hot, pour the mixture out onto the prepared tray and spread to a thickness of about 1 cm (1/2 inch) then stand until cooled to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) .

3. Using a 4 cm (1 1/2 inch) cutter, cut rounds out of the firm semolina. Brush the base and sides of an ovenproof baking dish (measuring about 17 x 27 cm/6 1/2 x 11 inches) with the extra butter. Scatter the semolina off-cuts evenly over the base of the dish then scatter over half the remaining parmesan cheese. Lay the semolina rounds on top, overlapping them neatly to cover the surface of the dish. Dot the remaining butter on top and sprinkle over the remaining parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden. Serve with the rocket salad.