Something which is not yet entirely proven for serious students of linguistics, but is readily apparent to Italophile Austrian gastronomes: the similarity, which is not just a linguistic one, between Austrian dumplings (“Nockerln”) and Italian gnocchi (pronounced: gnoki). In both countries, these small doughy treats are readily given a spicy twist. You would look for these semolina dumplings, the “Grieß-Gnocchi”, in the soup-bowls on the far side of the Brenner Pass, whereas in the world of Austrian soups you will come across them fairly frequently.
- Allow butter to come to room temperature before beating in a bowl until creamed. Season with salt and a small, delicate pinch of nutmeg.
- Add in the egg, stirring vigorously. Sprinkle the semolina over this, mix it in well until the surface is smooth. Cover with film and leave to rest for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Using two tbsp, dipped regularly into hot water throughout, press or shape dumplings from the paste. If preferred, place these on a lightly-oiled board or plate and again leave to stand for a short while (this allows the dumplings to rise even more).
- Heat up a generous quantity of salted water in a large pan. Place the dumplings into the water and bring back to the boil before turning down the heat and leaving to simmer gently for 10 – 15 minutes (n.b. simmering, not boiling, water!). Carefully turn the dumplings occasionally during this time.
- Remove the semolina dumplings carefully and arrange in the prepared and heated soup. Serve promptly, with a garnish of sprinkled parsley or chives.
The semolina dumplings can also be cooked in the beef broth, but this causes the soup to take on a slightly dull appearance. The cooked dumplings should never be left standing in the soup for too long, as they will “soak up” the soup and become softened.
Cooking time: 10 – 15 minutes
Source: Austrian National Tourist Office