Peas And Ramps With Mushrooms And Semolina Gnocchi

Peas And Ramps With Mushrooms And Semolina Gnocchi
Photo:

Andrew Thomas Lee

Servings:
4 to 6

I’ve never been very good at making a pillowy potato-based gnocchi dough, so when I discovered gnocchi alla Romana made from semolina, I knew I’d found my foolproof style.

The semolina is cooked in a pot like polenta, then cooled and simply cut into disks. Traditionally, it is finished in the oven, perhaps with tomato sauce , and topped with grated cheese to serve as a side dish.

Here, the semolina gnocchi is a vessel for a sauté of spring peas, ramps , and mushrooms and fit for the role of main dish.

Be sure to first taste the fresh peas raw. If they are a little starchy, they should be blanched to turn that blandness sweet. If you cannot find ramps , a wild foraged allium, you can use green onions or leeks instead.

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

  • 4 cups whole milk

  • 1 cup semolina flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 Tbsp . kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 c ups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

  • 8 oz. oyster mushrooms, torn into large bite-size pieces

  • 2 1/2 cups shelled English peas

  • 1 bunch ramps or green onions, sliced

Directions

  1. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with butter, and line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper that hangs over each of the two longer sides of the dish like wings; set aside.

  2. In a medium saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat. When the milk just begins to steam, whisk in the measured semolina, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and the butter until smooth. Cook, stirring almost constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture becomes very thick and begins to subtly pull away from the sides of the pan, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Continue stirring until the cheese is melted, then add the egg yolk and stir until it is fully incorporated. Tip the mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread it in an even layer, about 1/2 inch thick. Cover tightly with plastic film and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. (The dough can be made up to 2 days ahead.)

  3. Heat the oven to 375ºF with a rack in the top position. Lift the chilled gnocchi dough from the baking dish using the parchment wings and transfer it to a cutting board. Clean out the baking dish and grease it with more butter (no parchment this time).

  4. Using a cookie or biscuit cutter, or the rim of a drinking glass, cut the dough into 2-inch disks, dusting the cutter in a little semolina flour between cuts to pre-vent the dough from sticking. Arrange the disks in the greased baking dish in an overlapping single layer, like fish scales. After cutting as many disks as you can, wet your hands and gather the dough scraps back together. Pat and press them into a smooth 1/2-inch layer to cut more disks. Continue to gather the scraps of dough and reshape them to cut as many disks as possible, arranging them in the baking dish as you go.

  5. Bake on the top rack of the oven until the gnocchi are hot, about 20 minutes. Switch to broil and continue cooking until the tops of the gnocchi are nicely browned at the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and immediately sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

  6. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the mushrooms and season them with 1/2 teaspoon each of the remaining salt and pepper. Cook without disturbing the mushrooms until they are lightly browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes, then turn them over with tongs and brown on the other side, 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in the peas and ramps and season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add a splash of water and scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, shaking the pan while holding the lid from time to time, until the peas are warmed through and the ramps are wilted. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking. Spoon the peas and ramps over the baked gnocchi at the table.

From the book Vegetable Revelations . Copyright ©2023 by Steven Satterfield. Published by Harper Wave an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission. Photos credited to Andrew Thomas Lee.

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