Somewhere between Polenta and Grits, this wintery preparation from central Italy is easy to prepare and versatile. It can be served as a Primo Piatto, just like a pasta course, as is or on top of some cooked greens like spinach. Or it can serve as crispy and rich side dish to a braise, roasted or sautéed meat.
They are made with coarse ground semolina (durum wheat) or even cream of wheat. Simply add about 1cup of semolina to 4 or 5 cups of hot milk stirring to avoid lumps. Cook about 15 minutes, season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and grated Parmigiano and pour the thick mixture on a greased sheet tray or greased surface. Use a greased spatula or plastic wrap and a rolling pin to level at about 1/2 inch thickness and allow to cool.
Once room temperature the mixture becomes firm and can be cut in shape, normally round discs about 2 inches in diameter.Arrange discs in a buttered oven proof dish and season the top with more grated Parmigiano and additional butter. At this point you may refrigerate or even freeze for later use if desired.To complete bake at 425F for about 20-30 minutes or until the gnocchi will achieve a golden crispy crust.