Yotam Ottolenghi's Gnocchi alla Romana

This is Ottolenghi comfort food at its finest. Featuring gnocchi made from semolina and a topping of melted cheese, it's one both kids and adults will adore.

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Introduction

Comfort food does not get any more comforting than this. Serve this as it is, or with a crisp green salad. It’s the ultimate family dish: I’ve yet to meet a kid who doesn’t love it or an adult who doesn’t think it perfect with a glass of red wine. Make this up to the point it goes in the oven if you like and keep in the fridge for 1 day before baking.

Serves eight as a starter (or eight kids)
Easy

Ingredients

80g unsalted butter
1 litre whole milk
250g semolina (either fine or coarse)
1 tsp finely grated nutmeg
100g Parmesan, finely grated
2 egg yolks
40g mature Cheddar, finely grated salt and black pepper
salt and black pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.

2. Put the butter and milk into a medium saucepan with 1 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Place on a medium high heat. Once the butter has melted and the milk is simmering, remove from the heat and whisk in the semolina, nutmeg, Parmesan and egg yolks until smooth and combined. Return to the heat and whisk continuously until thickened. Continue to stir for 3–4 minutes, until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes: don’t leave it for longer, it’ll set too much and break a little when rolled.

3. Lay two large pieces of cling film on your work surface – about 30 x 40cm – and spoon half the mixture on to each piece. Roll to form 2 sausages – each about 4cm wide and about 38cm long – and keep in the fridge for at least 2 hours, until set. Remove and discard the cling film, and cut each sausage into round slices 1½cm thick. Arrange the slices in a shallow baking dish, about 23 x 33cm, in rows that slightly overlap. Sprinkle with Cheddar and bake for 15 minutes, until the cheese has melted.

4. Turn the oven to its highest grill setting and place the gnocchi about 10cm beneath the heat. Grill for 2–3 minutes, until the top is golden-brown, and set aside for 5 minutes before serving.

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