Gnocchi Alla Romana (Semolina Gnocchi)

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Gnocchi Alla Romana - It's Not Complicated Recipes #gnocchi #italian #italianrecipes #semolina #sidedishes #sides #vegetarian #comfortfood

Gnocchi alla Romana, also known as Semolina Gnocchi, is an ideal dish when you are in need of Italian comfort food. When hearing the word “gnocchi”, most of us will automatically think of the small pillows of potato dough. However, there are many types of gnocchi and I love them all. Over time, many of them will appear here.

Gnocchi alla Romana is an easy to make dish. However, their great advantage is that, unlike potato gnocchi, there is no risk that they will be dense and heavy.

This version is, as the name implies, prepared in the Roman style. Roman-style gnocchi are made from semolina flour.

To begin, I prepare a dough in a manner similar to making polenta. Spread the dough onto a baking tray, chill to firm up and then cut into disks. I place the disks in a baking dish and lay them out in an overlapping manner. I then pour over a generous amount of melted butter, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and bake. They emerge from the oven gloriously crispy and golden with a soft, cheesy texture beneath.

However, although they carry the name of Rome, and are greatly enjoyed in the Eternal City and the surrounding region of Lazio, their precise origin is often the subject of debate.

Wikipedia advises there is evidence of a similar version in Ancient Rome. Despite this, the main reason for the dispute is that the use of butter, cheese and milk in this recipe is more typical of a northern Italian region, such as Piedmont or Lombardy. Regardless of the precise history, no-one would question how delicious they are.

I make Gnocchi alla Romana using finely ground semolina, which is readily available at supermarkets.

Semolina is a type of flour made from durum wheat. It is mostly grown in the Middle-East. You will notice that it is a bit coarser than regular flour and is slightly more golden in colour. Semolina is predominantly used in Italy, mainly in the making of pasta. Pasta makers prefer it for its high gluten content. The gluten strengthens the pasta, helping it to hold its shape during cooking.

Semolina flour is also used to make Couscous, which is popular throughout North Africa. Additionally, it is also used in general baking, in pizza and bread making. Further, you can use it to make a porridge which is a nice variation from the more familiar oatmeal version.

I prepared the Gnocchi alla Romana for a recent dinner party. It is an ideal dish to make when entertaining.

For a start, you can make a small or large quantity. However, the great advantage is that you can prepare the Gnocchi in advance. Just put them into the oven shortly before you’re ready to serve. Be assured, they are always popular, much like my Stuffed Pasta Shells.

Gnocchi alla Romana (Semolina Gnocchi)

Serve alone as a starter, topped with a simple tomato sauce, or served as a side dish to various meat dishes. If you’re keen to replicate the flavours of Italy in your kitchen, please give these tender, cheesy, gnocchi a try. Please let me know in the comments below if you do.

Alex and Faye xx

This recipe has been adapted from a recipe in the original Australian Women’s Weekly Italian Cooking Class Cookbook.

P.S. Would you like to read more about how It’s Not Complicated Recipes started?
Have a look at a recent interview we did here.

5 from 41 votes

Gnocchi Alla Romana (Semolina Gnocchi)

Gnocchi Alla Romana (Semolina Gnocchi) is a delicious, traditional Italian dish. It is serious comfort food. The Gnocchi have a golden, crispy top above a tender, cheesy interior.

Course Appetiser, Entree, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword appetiser, baked gnocchi, delicious, easy, entree, gnocchi, gnocchi alla romana, Italian, semolina, semonlina gnocchi, side dish, simple, vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 497 kcal
Author Alexandra


  • 3 cups milk 750 ml
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup semolina 110 g
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese*, divided 120 g
  • 60 g butter melted


  1. Oil a 26cm x 32cm sheet pan or Swiss roll pan.*

    Grease a large casserole dish or two smaller dishes in which to bake the gnocchi*.

    Preheat your oven to 200 Degrees C (400 F).

  2. In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, bring milk, salt and nutmeg to a boil.

    Reduce the heat and very gradually add the semolina. Whisk* constantly to avoid the semolina forming lumps*.

  3. As the mixture becomes too thick to use the whisk, switch to a wooden spoon. 

  4. Continue cooking, uncovered, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes until the mixture becomes very thick and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat.

  5. Meanwhile, combine the beaten egg and 1 cup (80 gm) of the parmesan cheese.

  6. Add to the semolina mixture and stir well.

  7. Spread the mixture onto the prepared Swiss roll pan or baking tray. Use a wet spatula or dampened fingertips to smooth the dough until it is 5mm/1/4” thick. Refrigerate about 30-60 minutes, or until the semolina is firm.

  8. Cut circles* using a 5cm/2” cookie cutter.

  9. Arrange the dough, overlapping, in oven-proof dish/dishes.

  10. Pour over the melted butter.

  11. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese.

  12. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden.

Recipe Notes

*For the best flavour, it is important to use a good quality parmesan cheese and grate it yourself. Do not use packaged, pre-grated parmesan cheese. It frequently has unnecessary additives. I like to use Italian Grana Padano; it is less expensive than Parmigiano Reggiano but it has fantastic flavour.
*I use a baking tray which is larger than this measurement. It’s not essential to have a tray with the exact measurements. The mixture doesn’t run so just spread it out and leave a gap at one end.
*I used two dishes in which to bake the gnocchi. One was an oval dish, 27cm/2 ½” long 20cm/8” wide and a 22cm/9” round pan
*I find that a whisk is best to avoid lumps forming. And, it is essential that the semolina is added very slowly.
*If lumps should form, it is impossible to smooth them out – and this I know from experience. This happened the first time I made this recipe. All was not lost. I just tipped the dough into the food processor and whizzed it a few times until the lumps were gone.
*Although round discs are traditional, to speed up the process you could use a knife and cut the gnocchi into small squares. They will taste just as delicious.

Nutrition Facts
Gnocchi Alla Romana (Semolina Gnocchi)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 497 Calories from Fat 270
% Daily Value*
Fat 30g46%
Saturated Fat 18g113%
Cholesterol 124mg41%
Sodium 1647mg72%
Potassium 355mg10%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin A 1055IU21%
Calcium 637mg64%
Iron 1.8mg10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Gnocchi alla Romana (Semolina Gnocchi)
Gnocchi Alla Romana - It's Not Complicated Recipes #gnocchi #italian #italianrecipes #semolina #sidedishes #sides #vegetarian #comfortfood
Gnocchi Alla Romana - It's Not Complicated Recipes #gnocchi #italian #italianrecipes #semolina #sidedishes #sides #vegetarian #comfortfood

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190 Comments on “Gnocchi Alla Romana (Semolina Gnocchi)”

  1. Pingback: Roasted Cherry Tomatoes - It's Not Complicated Recipes

  2. Pingback: Mediterranean Beef Stew - It's Not Complicated Recipes

  3. 5 stars
    I absolutely love (!!) gnocchi, and the semolina version is quite tasty. (It’s also way easier than the traditional potato version.) Italian comfort food is one of my favorite meals, and this one looks excellent. You nailed it, Alexandra! The only thing that would make this better is if it magically appeared on my dinner table tonight. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    That looks incredible. Anything that comes out of the oven that golden look is going to be extra tasty. I have to make this. Bonus points for being super fast, too!

  5. That looks absolutely amazing! I need to add this to my menu plan next week. It looks like just the sort of recipe my family would love.

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve never seen this dish prepared this way before! It looks delicious and is perfectly golden!

  7. 5 stars
    I soooo need to try these gnocchi! I am obsessed with any types of gnocchis and I dont think I have ever tried semolina ones – they sound so delicious!

    1. Sylvie, you must try these. I love that there are so many different varieties of gnocchi. I love them all. Let me know if you try them.:) 🙂

    1. Sincerely Miss J, it certainly is different in that it is made from semolina and is baked. A fantastic variation. Truly Italian comfort food.:) 🙂

    1. Hi Anna, the gnocchi are delicious but also slightly rich. So yes, they will feed 4 people. I usually serve them as a side dish or as a starter with a salad. 🙂 🙂

  8. So impressive that you make your own gnocchi! I have been too lazy for that, but after seeing this, it’s would be hard to buy the prepackaged stuff again! Thanks for sharing – this is going on my list!

  9. 5 stars
    Wow, I bet this gnocchi really taste great. I haven’t tried cooking gnocchi ever. But I think I have to try it, something new to me.

  10. Oh this looks so good, I have been meaning to cook a lot more and this is definitely a recipe I’ll try out. Thanks for sharing

  11. 5 stars
    Such a fantastic recipe! It looks easy to prepare and I will definitely save this amazing recipe. Yummy!!

  12. 5 stars
    First time to hear this recipe. It look so delicious and look so easy to make, I am going to try this for my kids.

  13. I`m a terrible cook and consider myself having two left hands when it comes to cooking but this is a must try. Thanks so much for sharing.

  14. 5 stars
    That gnocchi sounds really appetizing to eat and I was glad I was able to see this recipe that you shared. I’ll tell my mom that we’ll try it this weekend.

    1. Krysten, this is a great recipe when entertaining. It can be prepared in advance relieving last-minute stress. Let me know how you enjoy it. 🙂

  15. Wow, this is making my mouth watering…. LOL… I’m going to try this recipe this weekend, my kids are going to love this, especially the golden, crispy top. Thx!

  16. 5 stars
    I love the crisp crust of the gnocchi…it must be yummy with tomato sauce, some shredded cheese and a god barbecue, right?

  17. This looks like it would be so amazing! I absolutely love gnocchi – so I need to make this asap.

  18. This looks utterly divine! Too bad I can’t have a lot of cheese, the minute I do my skin HATES me!

  19. 5 stars
    Glad to learn about Semolina Gnocchi, as I have never heard of this dish in my life. I also love how you arrange the dough, look super pretty and I shall that way too.

  20. 5 stars
    This looks and sounds so delicious. It never crossed my mind to make my own gnocchi. Now that I realize it’s so simple, I’ll definitely try. The cookie cutter idea is brilliant! Gives room for funny shapes 😉

  21. Oh my goodness, this dish looks SO delicious. Gnocchi is one of my favorite foods and your version looks phenomenal!

  22. This looks so good! I love a good Italian or Roman, in this case, dish and I love the fact that I might be able to make this at home! Totally going to try it.

  23. I like that you did not make everything so complicated and provided more pictures. Its really helpful.

  24. 5 stars
    Your recipes are simply awesome and unique. The dish today is fantastic and looks so yummy. I hope I was near to your place and often visit your kitchen to taste these wonderful recipes. Very creative person you are. I salute you.

  25. 5 stars
    This dish looks wonderful..! I would definitely try it for dinner sometime. Thanks for sharing, love it..!

  26. This is the first time I’ve seen this kind of dish. I am curious as to how it tastes. It looks yummy!

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