Romana gnocchi with Napoletana sauce

Assemble this traditional dish the day before and then bake just before your guests arrive
By Gennaro Contaldo
Romana gnocchi with Napoletana sauce
  • Rating:
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes plus cooling
  • Effort: medium


For the Napoletana sauce

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 x 400 g canned chopped tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 handfuls basil, finely chopped

For the gnocchi

  • 1 litres milk
  • 250 g semolina
  • 200 g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100 g parmesan
  • 25 g breadcrumbs

To serve

  • green salad


1. For the Napoletana sauce: heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the garlic and sweat until softened.

2. Add the tomatoes and basil, season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. For the gnocchi: put the milk in a non-stick saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower heat and gradually add the semolina, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon in order to prevent lumps. (Using an electric whisk will help keep it smooth.) Cook on a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring well and ensuring nothing sticks to the pan.

4. Once the semolina is thick, remove the pan from the heat and add salt to taste, 80g butter, the egg yolks, 50g parmesan and mix well.

5. Turn the mixture onto a clean damp work surface and spread into a rectangular shape, 1cm thick, using a wet spatula. Leave to cool.

6. Using a pastry cutter or a glass, cut out rounds of 5cm in diameter.

7. Preheat the oven to 180C/ gas 4.

8. Grease a large rectangular baking dish with butter and arrange the gnocchi in a single layer in the dish, so that they are slightly overlapping.

9. Melt the remaining butter and pour over gnocchi.

10. Sprinkle over the remaining parmesan and the breadcrumbs and bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

11. To serve, reheat the Napoletana sauce and serve with the baked gnocchi and a mixed salad.

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