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Cheese Gnocchi
by
Arwen Southernwood


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Original Recipe

Gnocchi

Frammento di un libro di cucina del secolo XIV, as translated by Redon, Odile, et. al, in Medieval Kitchen.
If you want some gnocchi, take some fresh cheese and mash it, then take some flour and mix with egg yolks as in making migliacci.  Put a pot full of water on the fire and, when it begins to boil, put the mixture on a dish and drop it into the pot with a ladle.  And when they are cooked, place them on dishes and sprinkle with plenty of grated cheese. 


Redaction

Ingredients:

1 pound mild white cheese, such as farmers cheese
2 cups flour
4 eggs

Preparation Steps:

  1. Grate the cheese, reserving half of it to top the finished dish.  Put the other half in a large bowl and crumble it smaller with your hands.  Mix in the flour and blend well, making sure to mash the flour and cheese together.  Beat the eggs lightly, then add to the flour/cheese mixture.  Stir until blended, then knead until it is thoroughly mixed.  The dough should be about the consistency of noodle dough or slightly stickier.  If it is too runny, add a little more flour.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Roll small balls of dough, about the size of a marble, and drop them into the boiling water.  Boil until they rise to the top of the pot, then use a slotted spoon to remove them.  Set them aside to drain.
  3. Put the finished gnocchi in a baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake in a 325 degree oven just long enough to melt the cheese.

Number of Servings

Not given.

Serving Size

Not given.

Redaction Notes

This recipe comes from an Italian source, Frammento di un libro di cucina del secolo XIV.  My sole motivation for choosing it is that it sounded good when I came across it in a book.  I also enjoy the opportunity to present foods that may be more familiar (and therefore more accessible) to modern diners, which I believe these to be.

Since the recipe calls for "fresh cheese," I chose a mild, semi-soft farmers cheese rather than a harder cheese like parmesan. 

I used whole eggs instead of egg yolks, as it became apparent after I added the fourth egg yolk that it was going to take many more egg yolks than I had on hand at the moment.  As I have seen period recipes that call for a certain number of eggs or twice as many egg yolks, I felt that the substitution was justified.

For flour, I used ordinary modern flour which, in addition to being bleached, is much finer and purer than medieval flours would have been.  For a future redaction, I would like to experiment with other flours, such as unbleached wheat flour, spelt flour, etc.

Since I was preparing the gnocchi the night before they were to be served, I decided to add the extra step of melting the cheese in the oven, even though it wasn't specified in the original recipe.  That way, the gnocchi could be cooked the night before, and re-heated during the melting process.

References

  • Redon, Odile; Sabban, Francoise, and Serventi, Silvano.  Medieval Kitchen:  Recipes from France and Italy.  Edward Schneider, trans.    The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1998.
  • Renfrow, Cindy.  Take A Thousand Eggs Or More, Vol. I.  Second Edition.  U.S., 1998.

Date Of Redaction

Originally prepared for the Caerthen Culinary and Performing Arts Collegium & Competition, August 29, A.S. XXXIII (1998 c.e.).


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