Everyone knows their favorite pasta shape, right? Maybe you’re a penne person or a rotini fan. Perhaps you favor angel hair or fresh fettucini, or it could be that ravioli is your thing. Luckily, there is a pasta shape for every person and a type of sauce to match. But what if there was a pasta you’ve never heard of?
Celeb chef Giada De Laurentiis just posted a recipe on Instagram for a kind of gnocchi that many people may never have heard of before called Gnocchi Alla Romana. It’s so much different from the traditional potato gnocchi that you are probably familiar with.
Read on to learn more about Giada’s Gnocchi Alla Romana and how it’s made. Plus, pick a healthy sauce to go with it from our list of the 40 Best and Worst Pasta Sauces—Ranked!
Giada’s Gnocchi Alla Romana
Turns out, the ridged gnocchi we know and love on a crisp fall day is one of many different types of gnocchi.
“Gnocchi actually knows many forms in Italy,” Giada says on The Giadzy, her recipe site. “There are ricotta versions, pasta versions, and Gnocchi Alla Romana, which is a cooked dough made of semolina flour.” Gnocchi Alla Romana is a shape from northern Italy, she writes, “where the winter months get very cold.”
This pasta is made on the stovetop and then baked in the oven like a casserole, while traditional potato gnocchi is shaped and then boiled. Giada describes the texture of the final product as “a bit crispy, while the inside is soft and cheesy.”
Head to The Gidazy for the full recipe for Giada’s Gnocchi Alla Romana, but here is the basic process and how it differs from potato gnocchi.
How to make the dough
To begin, Giada adds 2 cups of milk and stock to a pot with butter and salt and then simmers. Then, she adds semolina flour in a stream and stirs it until it becomes a sticky dough.
Next, she sprinkles in a cup of Parmesan cheese—which adds a lot of cheesy goodness—and egg yolks, then spreads the dough out on a large baking sheet to cool. Traditional gnocchi is made with steamed or baked potatoes, which are riced and then mixed with flour. This dough is almost completely semolina and cheese, which will give it a rich, cheesy taste.
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Prepare the pan
Next, Giada spreads an oven-safe skillet or baking dish with 2 cups of marinara. “Traditionally, this gets served with a sort of butter sauce, but I think it’s extra flavorful and hearty with marinara,” she writes. Plus, going the marinara route will also cut the fat and calories from this already hearty dish.
Shape the pasta
To “shape” the dough, Giada cuts out rounds with a pastry cutter. This is what makes this gnocchi so much different than potato gnocchi which is rolled into tubes and then cut and shaped on a fork or on a gnocchi board. This process is also easier than making gnocchi, which is usually very messy and you inevitably get flour all over the kitchen. Here, everything is confined to the baking sheet for easy cleanup!
Layer the dough
After cutting the rounds out, Giada layers the rounds so that they are slightly overlapping in the pan—similar to how you might layer potatoes when making scalloped potatoes. The dish is topped with 2 tablespoons of butter, fresh basil, and more cheese.
The whole pan is tossed in a hot oven and baked for 20 minutes and then broiled for five to get the crispy browned topping you see in the photo. Giada serves extra marinara sauce on the side for dipping.
If you want a different dish for fall or your holiday table, give this a try. The process is really very simple and seems easier—and less messy—than potato gnocchi. Plus, who can argue with tomatoey cheesy goodness on a fall day?
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