Last week V and I had dinner at Ethan Stowell’s famed Roman-inspired restaurant, Rione XIII in Seattle. It was an amazing meal paired with great wine and the star dish that evening was undoubtedly the boldly flavorful and intensely satisfying Gnocchi Alla Romana…the best I have ever eaten….
For the Gnocchi:
5 1/2 cups milk
2 cups semolina
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/4 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, plus 3 Tbs. melted butter
In a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the milk to a simmer. Add the semolina in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly until incorporated. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the salt and continue whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan, until the semolina is thick and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese, and the 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) butter until incorporated.
Spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray, line the bottom with parchment paper and spray again. Pour the semolina mixture into the pan, spreading it evenly and smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
Preheat an oven to 425°F. Butter a 9-inch baking dish.
Using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, cut the gnocchi into rounds. Arrange the gnocchi in the pan so they are overlapping, resembling shingles.
Brush the top of the gnocchi with the 3 Tbs. melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes, then serve immediately with the bright red tomato sauce.
Note: This dish can be prepared ahead of time and baked as needed for fresh gnocchi any night.
Source: Williams-Sonoma Kitchen
Bright Red Tomato Sauce:
This is an easy tomato sauce that can be used on virtually any pasta dish. It’s simple to make and can be stored in the fridge easily for a few days.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I like San Marzano)
Combine the olive oil, pepper flakes, garlic, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the garlic begins to take on the slightest bit of color. Stir in the tomatoes, return to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with more salt to taste.
Source: chef and author Heidi Swanson