Semolina--coarsely ground durum wheat--gives Gemma Sciabica's gnocchi a chewy texture. You can buy semolina in well-stocked supermarkets and groceries that sell specialty flours. Prep and cook time: about 1 1/4 hours.
Sunset AUGUST 2005
1. In a large bowl, mix ricotta, 1/2 cup romano cheese, the basil, eggs, olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until well blended. Add 2 cups of the semolina and stir until evenly moistened.
2. Scrape dough onto a board lightly coated with semolina and knead until it forms a smooth ball that's no longer sticky, about 20 turns, adding more semolina as needed to prevent sticking.
3. Cut dough into 10 pieces. With your fingers, roll each into a 1/2-inch-thick rope. Cut ropes into 1-inch pieces and lay, slightly apart, on baking sheets lightly coated with semolina.
4. In an 8- to 10-quart pan over high heat, bring 5 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Gently push gnocchi into water and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender to bite, about 10 minutes. Drain.
5. Spoon marinara sauce into a bowl and mound gnocchi on top. Add more salt, romano, and pepper to taste.
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