I had previously written about the semolina grain and how it appears and tastes differently in North African and Middle Eastern couscous and Indian uppamav contexts. The semolina granules used in couscous and uppamav have a distinctive texture. Adding vegetables or meat to the dish make them both substantial meals. Semolina flour, on the other hand, is smooth much like regular flour. It is used to make both bread and pasta.
Semolina flour is made from the inner endosperm of durum wheat which is yellow in color, and the resulting flour has a pale yellow hue. The flour is commonly used to make gnocchi. As N. is a big fan of gnocchi, I waited for her to come home to make potato gnocchi with semolina flour. The recipe uses rich ingredients resulting in a decadent and creamy gnocchi. Baked gnocchi can be eaten on its own, warm from the oven! Alternately, serve with fresh tomato sauce.
Baked Potato Gnocchi
Potato – 1 large, boiled
Semolina flour – 1 cup, plus ¼ cup for dusting
Milk – 4 cups
Nutmeg powder – ½ tsp
Egg yolks – 2, whisked
Egg – 1, whisked
Butter – ¾ cup, room temperature
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese – ¾ cup + ¼ cup, finely grated
Sage – 10 leaves, finely chopped
- Using a metal grater, grate the boiled potato into a large bowl. Keep aside.
- Bring the milk to a simmer in a large pan.
- Add the semolina flour and nutmeg to the milk. Mix well, removing lumps with a wooden spoon. The mixture should be smooth. Cook for about 7-8 minutes, stirring continuously so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Remove from heat. Add the butter, egg yolks, egg, and ¾ cup grated cheese and combine.
- Add chopped sage and grated potato. Mix with a light touch to form a dough ball. Roll out the dough on parchment paper, about 1 1/2-inch thickness. Refrigerate for an hour.
- Dust a clean surface with a little flour.
- Take a small amount of dough and start to roll between your palm and then on the clean surface to make a 4-5-inch-long log. Use a light touch.
- Cut into small pieces (about 1-inch). Make a small dent (collects the sauce later) in each piece with your pointer finger. Place the small pieces on a parchment paper. Or, use a cookie cutter or a tea strainer to cut out different shapes.
- If you are not cooking right away, freeze the gnocchi. It can be baked from frozen.
- Otherwise, sprinkle the remaining grated cheese and bake it at 425°F for 25-30 minutes. The gnocchi should have a light brown crust.
- Serve immediately.