This old-fashioned Italian recipe is considered “nursery food,” because children love the soft, creamy texture and delicate cheesy flavor. For adults, it’s a nostalgic comfort food.
Semolina flour is essential, and yes, you do have to stir the mixture until it separates from the sides of the pan, or your arm falls off—whichever comes first. The result is a thick, creamy dough that is cooled and then cut into rounds (like a cookie) or any other shape you like.
Leftovers are wonderful reheated the next day and served with a green salad.
Serves 8 to 10
- 4 cups whole milk
- 4 cups water
- 3 cups semolina flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons butter, plus more for coating the baking dish
In a stock pot, combine milk and water and bring to a gentle boil. Add the semolina, salt, nutmeg, and pepper and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the semolina absorbs the liquid and thickens.
Reduce the heat to low. Using a wooden spoon, stir vigorously until the mixture thickens and releases easily from the sides of the pan.
Add 1 cup of Parmesan and the egg yolks and stir until well combined. Remove from the heat and use a spatula to transfer the dough to a cookie sheet or a marble top. Spread to an even thickness, about 1/2 inch, pressing down with the back of the spoon. Let it cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Butter a 4-quart oven-to-table dish. Using a cookie cutter (or the rim of a glass), cut the dough into 2-inch medallions. Arrange the medallions in the dish so that they’re slightly overlapping (like scalloped potatoes). Sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan cheese and dot with butter. Bake for 45 minutes or until the tops are crisp and golden. Serve hot.