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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Giada's Gnocchi Alla Romana

Although gnocchi is most commonly known to be the little ridged potato dumplings we all love, gnocchi actually knows many forms in Italy. There are ricotta versions, pasta versions, and Gnocchi Alla Romana, which is a cooked dough made of semolina flour. The technique for making Gnocchi Alla Romana is very different than it is for other forms of gnocchi - the dough is made on the stovetop, then after cutting out the shapes, it gets baked in the oven. The texture on the outside gets a bit crispy, while the inside is soft and cheesy. It's a really delicious comfort food that's perfect for fall and winter, and reminds me of being a kid again.

The history on this dish is debated, but it's believed that it originated in the north of Italy where the winter months get very cold. It makes perfect sense to me, considering how hearty and cozy of a dish it is. Traditionally, this gets served with a sort of butter sauce, but I think it's extra flavorful and hearty with marinara. I like to serve a little extra sauce on the side for dipping, too. To really take it to the next level and make it authentic, try it with my homemade Parmesan Pomodoro!

Gnocchi Alla Romana

Gnocchi Alla Romana


Main Course



Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time

35 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Gnocchi Alla Romana


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, (plus more for the pan, divided)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 3/4 cups fine semolina flour, (such as Moretti)
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese, (divided)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cup marinara or pomodoro sauce, (either homemade or storebought, plus extra for dipping if desired)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • 5 basil leaves, (chopped, optional)


  1. Lined a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. To a medium saucepan add the milk, broth, 2 tablespoons butter and salt.
  3. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. When the milk mixture begins to simmer, pour the semolina into the milk in a steady stream while whisking constantly. Change to a rubber spatula and cook, stirring often until very thick and smooth, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Quickly stir in 1 cup of parmesan cheese and the egg yolks. Spread the mixture on the prepared tray to a 10x12 inch rectangle, about 1/3 inch thick. Allow to cool to room temperature for 30 minutes then cool entirely in the refrigerator for about 1 hour or until set.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Butter the inside of a 9x13 baking dish or oven-safe skillet, and add two cups of marinara to coat the bottom of the dish.
  5. Using a 2 1/2 inch round cutter, cut rounds of semolina dough. Place in the prepared baking dish overlapping the rounds slightly. Dot the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, sprinkle with the chopped basil and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan and 1/2 cup pecorino cheeses. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown. Turn the broiler to high and broil for an 5 minutes or until deep golden brown and crispy.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.



Nutrition Serving Size
per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
70 grams
37 grams
34 grams
Saturated Fat
19 grams
186 milligrams
2041 milligrams
5 grams
12 grams
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8 reviews & comments

  • Author's avatar image
    Joan Weakland

    Messinac1: You definitely need semolina for this recipe, not all purpose flour. The flavor and texture of semolina is completely different and what makes this dish unique.It has a slightly sweet flavor, a slightly glutinous texture, is pale yellow, and delicious.

  • Author's avatar image
    David Missert

    Fun recipe to make. Made half recipe for two of us. Came together nicely. Great flavor. Did not have specifically labeled “fine” semolina; texture was sort of polenta-like, but it worked out okay. Used 2 inch cutter and thought size was perfect. Finished dish looked just like picture in posted recipe. Definitely will make again.

  • Author's avatar image
    Mark Putnam

    BTW, We use the expression "alla Romana" to mean "let's go Dutch" when taking lunch with friends.

  • Author's avatar image
    Laurie Soffa

    I just made your amazing pommodora sauce and substituted slices of polenta ( gluten free household). Absolutely scrumptious

  • Author's avatar image
    Mark Putnam

    Ciao Giada, I've been ease-dropping on this website for a couple of years now. Have tried many of your posted recipes and enjoyed them. I am cautious with praise since so many TV chefs have a distorted understanding of real Italian food. Of course, I know there is no such thing as "Italian" food, but rather a world of variations and flavors based on centuries-old techniques, ingredients, and culture. I'm currently working on a cookbook in Italian and English with two grandmothers who live near Marsala in Sicily. Now that's a different cuisine! But this recipe! From the first glance at the photo, I knew it was for me. Absolutely delicious! It follows Marcella Hazen's rule: not one more ingredient nor step in preparation than is absolutely necessary. I whipped up a quick "half" batch for lunch. Took minutes to prep (and an hour in the fridge). Turned out just like your photo! My wife and I didn't even come up for air! Gone in a few minutes. Thank you for your good work. Stay safe.

  • Author's avatar image
    Lynne Powell

    Giada said she likes to serve sauce on the side to dip the gnocchi in.

  • Author's avatar image
    Christine Messina

    Do you have to use semolina flour? Or could I sub all purpose flour ?

  • Author's avatar image
    Dj Vail

    What is the extra cup of marinara sauce for?

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