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brown butter gnocchettini dumplings

semolina dumplings with brown butter sauceThese aren’t your typical dumplings.  And it might be a bit confusing if you are used to seeing dumplings the size of golf balls in a stew or soup.  I’m pretty sure if my great, great paternal grandmother saw this dish she, too, would say these are not dumplings!  Nanny Kent was born in Bohemia in 1886 and immigrated to Canada when she was 6.  The dumpling dinners she used to make were what one might expect with ancestral roots from eastern Europe along with other typical foods such as sauerkraut, goulash, sausage, cabbage rolls, etc.  Nanny’s cooking was always wholesome, and even though on the basic side, her food was downright delicious!  Her upbringing meant being frugal and smart about utilizing every bit of food she bought; she could ill afford any waste. This dish reminds me of her as she used to make something similar.

Italy’s gnocchi gets worldwide recognition and while most recipes call for potato and a little flour, the recipe below uses semolina flour and plain flour.  Semolina flour-based dumplings can be found in northern Italy and it’s easy to see how Italy’s bordering countries have influenced its food.  These little dumplings (gnocchettini) can be served as shown or with your favorite tomato sauce (salsa di Pomodoro), cheese sauce (salsa di Formaggio) or olive oil and pepper (olio d’oliva e pepe).

serves 4
2 cups semolina flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
pinch of nutmeg
1 1/4 cup milk
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large bowl add flours, nutmeg, salt, and pepper then combine.  Whisk eggs and add milk in a smaller bowl then add to four mixture.  Whisk until combined.  If the batter is too thick, add a splash more milk to loosen it.  It should be slightly thick like the consistency of pancake batter.

The nonna’s of northern Italy use a colander with large holes and push the batter through the holes using the back of a large spoon.  Or, you can buy an inexpensive spaetzle maker.  I’ve used both and in a pinch, the colander does the trick.  Spoon about a cup or so of the batter into the colander or spaetzle maker.  Place over boiling water and push batter through the holes.  Once the batter floats back to the surface, the dumplings are cooked and ready to be removed.  Place cooked dumplings into a large bowl.  Repeat process until all batter is used.

For the brown butter sauce – melt one cup of butter over medium heat.  Cook until butter changes to a golden brown about 3 to 4 minutes.

Toss dumplings into brown butter until warmed through.  Serve immediately with a sprinkling of chopped parsley or grated parmesan.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Want a bit of heat to the dish? Add a sprinkling of chili pepper flakes to the butter.  Enjoy!

brown butter gnocchettini dumplings
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Italy’s gnocchi gets worldwide recognition and while most recipes call for potato and a little flour, the recipe below uses semolina flour and plain flour. Semolina flour-based dumplings can be found in northern Italy and it’s easy to see how Italy’s bordering countries have influenced its food.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 cups semolina flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1¼ cup milk
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large bowl add flours, nutmeg, salt, and pepper then combine. Whisk eggs and add milk in a smaller bowl then add to four mixture. Whisk until combined. If the batter is too thick, add a splash more milk to loosen it. It should be slightly thick like the consistency of pancake batter.
  2. The nonna’s of northern Italy use a colander with large holes and push the batter through the holes using the back of a large spoon. Or, you can buy an inexpensive spaetzle maker. I’ve used both and in a pinch, the colander does the trick. Spoon about a cup or so of the batter into the colander or spaetzle maker. Place over boiling water and push batter through the holes. Once the batter floats back to the surface, the dumplings are cooked and ready to be removed. Place cooked dumplings into a large bowl. Repeat process until all batter is used.
  3. For the brown butter sauce – melt one cup of butter over medium heat. Cook until butter changes to a golden brown about 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Toss dumplings into brown butter until warmed through. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of chopped parsley or grated parmesan.
  5. The Culinary Chase’s Note: Want a bit of heat to the dish? Add a sprinkling of chili pepper flakes to the butter. Enjoy!