In Northern Italy, gnocchi is commonly made with leftover bread, which is soaked in milk, squeezed dry and mixed with salted meats. They're delicious coated in melted butter and shaved parmesan.






Skill level

Average: 3 (5 votes)


  • 500 g (1lb 2 oz) crustless stale bread, cut into 5-mm (¼ in) cubes
  • 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) milk
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for pan-frying
  • 150 g (5½ oz) mixed deli meats (pancetta, ham, pressed tongue and/or speck), finely diced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • about 100 g (31/2 oz) parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 40 g (1½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 100 g (3½ oz) unsalted butter

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time: 15 minutes

  1. Place the bread cubes in a medium bowl, pour over the milk and leave to soak for about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the diced meats and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Remove the bread from the milk and squeeze dry. Place in a large, clean bowl and add the cooked meats, egg, parmesan, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Bring together to make a cohesive dough, then cover and rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Shape the dough into balls the size of a small apricot; if the dough is too wet, add a bit of extra parmesan. Coat the balls lightly in flour and set aside. You should have enough dough to make about 30 balls.
  5. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Gently drop in the gnocchi and cook at a slow steady boil for about 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a frying pan large enough to fit all the gnocchi, melt the butter over low heat (if your pan isn’t large enough, do this in two batches). Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and carefully drop them into the melted butter, tossing to make sure they are well coated.
  7. Serve in warmed bowls generously topped with extra grated parmesan.


Recipe and images from Adriatico by Paola Bacchia, Smith Street Books, RRP $55.00