This beautiful and simple dish hails from Sardegna. Unlike potato gnocchi it’s made only with semolina and regular flour and is sauced with a rustic sugo of sweet Italian sausage, San Marzano tomatoes, white wine & a pinch of saffron.
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
-1.2 cups of semolina flour
-3/4 cup of all purpose flour
-3/4 cup of water
-1 cup of dry white wine
-1 can (28 ounces) of San Marzano tomatoes
-1 pinch of saffron
-2 sweet Italian sausages, removed from their casings
-1 medium white or Spring onion, diced
-1 bay leaf
-Extra virgin olive oil
-Salt & pepper
-Pecorino Sardo or Pecorino Romano
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and bay leaf. Add a bit of salt so that the onion begins to break down. Sweat for 2-3 minutes (do not brown). Add the sausages (removed from their casings) and break up using a wooden spoon. Cook for 8-10 minutes over a medium flame until the meat is nicely broken up and uniform. Add the white wine and saffron and cook for another 10 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by 20%. Add the can of San Marzano tomatoes and break up using a wooden spoon. Lower the heat and simmer for an hour or until the sauce completely comes together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the Dough
To make the dough pour the semolina and regular flour into a large bowl around the edges, creating a well in the middle. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Pour the water into the center and–using a fork–begin to incorporate the flour. Once you have added all of the water begin kneading the dough by hand. Bring it all together, fold it over and push down and repeat. Once you have a cohesive mass continue kneading the dough on a lightly floured surface for another 3-4 minutes. Wrap in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
To roll the dough out simply cut off a long piece at a time and roll into a cylinder. Cut each roll with a knife into small pieces and lay onto a plate lined with parchment or wax paper. After you have rolled and cut up all of the gnocchi take a fork dusted with flour and roll each piece of gnocchi off the fork to create small indentations. This allows the sauce to adhere to each piece of gnocchi.
Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil. Add 3-4 tablespoons of salt. Add the gnocchi and cook until they all rise to the surface (4-5 minutes). Using a slotted spoon transfer the gnocchi to the pot with the sauce. Toss over high heat for 1 minute. Spoon on to plates and grate with Pecorino Sardo. Serve immediately.
James is a food writer and Bay Area chef who owns and runs a private dinner party and cooking class business specializing in regional Italian and Spanish cuisine. See CookWithJames.com