Gnocchi alia Romana

Rich with butter and cheese, Gnocchi alia Romana (nah-kee ah-lah roh-mah-nah) makes a superb first course or light main dish, served with a green salad and a Chianti wine.

1 pint milk

1 onion, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

1½ oz. plus

1 teaspoon butter, melted

5 oz. semolina

2 eggs

4 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

Pour the milk into a medium-sized sauce-pan. Add the onion, salt and nutmeg. Place the pan over moderately low heat and bring the milk slowly to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside for 15 minutes.

Grease an 8-inch baking tin with 1 teaspoon of butter. Set aside.

Strain the milk into a large saucepan and discard the flavourings. Place the pan over moderate heat and bring the milk to the boil. Gradually add the semolina, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until the mixture is very thick.

Remove the pan from the heat. Beat in the eggs and half of the cheese.

Turn the gnocchi mixture into the baking tin and allow it to cool to room temperature. Then place it in the refriger-ator to chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 400°F (Gas Mark 6, 200°C).

With a knife, cut the gnocchi mixture into squares and triangles.

Arrange the gnocchi pieces in a shallow ovenproof dish. Pour over the remaining melted butter and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Put the dish into the oven and bake the gnocchi for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and serve.