Photographs Francois Oberholster
Serves 6–8 as a side dish
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus cooling time
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Oven temperature: 200°C
• 1L milk
• 1 heaped cup (180g) semolina
• 3 egg yolks
• 250ml Parmesan, grated
• 125ml butter, room temperature
• a large pinch of nutmeg
• fresh herbs like origanum and sage
1 Warm the milk in a large saucepan over medium heat until steaming, whisking occasionally to prevent scorching. Season the milk with salt, freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg, lower the heat and whisk in the semolina in a steady stream. Switch to a wooden spoon and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring to prevent scorching on the bottom of the saucepan.
2 Once the mixture thickens and starts to pull away from the sides, remove from the heat and stir in half the cheese and a large knob of the butter. Stir quickly until combined and slightly cooled. Add the egg yolks and mix quickly until combined – you don’t want scrambled egg!
3 Spread the hot mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper to a thickness of about 1.5cm and allow to cool. You can make this the night before, if you are entertaining.
4 Preheat the oven. Turn the cooled semolina out onto a greased cutting board and cut into rounds or triangles.
5 Arrange the semolina rounds on an ovenproof
platter then dot with the remaining butter and
hardy herbs. Sprinkle the cheese over and bake
for about 15 minutes, or until a light golden crust
has formed and the gnocchi are heated through
and turning golden-brown. You can use your
grill, if you prefer.
The grand finale Serve as a vegetarian main meal, as a rich side dish with your favourite roast or use as a baked topping for a stew. Rich tomato sauce, sautéed mushrooms, and cream or vegetable ratatouille are great alternatives to the herb butter in this version. Semolina gnocchi is almost like an Italian paptert and additions such as crispy bacon, chilli and mature cheddar will all complement the neutral flavour of the semolina porridge – so experiment!