roasted vegetables with semolina gnocchi

i’ve been exploring my dennis cotter book again. this time it’s his semolina gnocchi that is sending me into raptures. it’s wonderfully simple – add semolina to a pan of boiling stock, boil for 10 minutes, flavour with cheese and herbs, pour out onto a tray and cut into pieces when set, then roast on an oiled tray.

however, each time i’ve cooked it, it’s the leftover gnocchi which sits in the oven while we eat, which tastes the best. so, i think to keep practicing but i thought i’d share the recipe with you so you can practice too and maybe you’ll help me reach the stage where i can get it right first time, for my guests. having said that, a recent guest happily worked her way through the leftovers while “helping” me with the dishes!

wild garlic, gooseberries ...and me calls for a topping of artichokes, spinach and lemon cream. i prefer this version which uses slow roasted cherry tomatoes, roasted sweet potatoes (marinade in olive oil, maple syrup, soy sauceand chilli, then dress with fresh lime juice as they come out the oven), roasted onions, roasted portabello mushrooms (fill the cap with garlic, butter and white wine then roast until soft) rocket and pomegranate seeds with roast garlic and shallot raita. very delicious, especially when followed by lemon and rosewater-frosted pistachio and orange cake.

dennis cotter’s semolina gnocchi (serves 4-6, as part of a larger dish)

750ml vegetable stock

180g fine semolina

salt & pepper

120g soft sheep’s cheese (i have also used a herbed goats cheese which was lovely)

bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan, whisk in the semolina and a little salt and pepper. when it returns to the boil, lower the heat and simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes stirring frequently. stir in the soft sheep’s cheese and remove from the heat. line a swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper and spread the semolina on it and leave to cool.when cool cut the semolina into squares (diamonds or triangles!) about 3cm wide. these are your gnocchi.

when you are ready to cook the gnocchi, heat the oven to 200c. line a baking tray with greaseproof paper*, place the gnocchi on it and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes**, turning once, until they are crisp and lightly coloured.

* the first time i made these they stuck to the greaseproof paper which made turning them impossible. it was also difficult to pull them off the paper when i was ready to serve them. however, the leftovers which stayed in a turned-off oven to keep warm, were very easy to remove so perhaps it’s just a matter of timing, which brings me to...

** each time, i cooked the gnocchi for c15-20 minutes so they coloured and crisped up. the second time i made this, i placed the gnocchi on an oiled tray (which they didn’t stick to) andbrushed them with a little extra olive oil which helped them brown.