When I lived in my parent’s house we ate brodo (broth) once per week. Sometimes it was made with chicken, sometimes with yearling beef and at other times it was a mixture of the two meats; a few bones were always included.

We always had brodo as the first course and the boiled meat as the second course, and this was always accompanied with Salsa verde.

Brodo is popular all over Italy and is considered essential when a member of the household is feeling unwell. It is seen as a restorative food in many other cultures as well.

Often we would have tortellini in brodo, but at other times, my mother added pastina (small pasta); these were either capelli d’angelo (angel’s hair) or thin egg noodles or stelline (small stars) or quadretti (small squares). Most of the time we had or favourite: gnocchetti di semolino floating in our brodo – these are small gnocchi, a specialty from Trieste. Because I spent my childhood there I became an expert gnocchetti maker from an early age.

Lately, with winter colds I have been making brodo and last week I also made gnocchetti. Although making them was second nature to me but next time I make them I will use a coffee spoon to make them smaller.


To make brodo, see:  BRODO DI GALLINA
INGREDIENTS (4- 6 people)
brodo (broth),
50 g of butter,
1 egg,
100g of semolina,
pinch of salt,
grated Parmesan cheese (1 tbs in the mixture and some to present at the table)
Make the brodo:
Beat softened butter and egg with a small wooden spoon until soft and well mixed. Use a small jug, milk saucepan or a bowl with steep sides.
Add the semolina and grated cheese slowly and continue to mix vigorously until perfectly smooth.
Bring the broth to the boil.
Use a wet teaspoon to shape the gnocchetti. Take small quantities of the mixture and slip small oval shapes off the spoon into the boiling broth. Keep the broth on a gentle boil.

Continue shaping the gnocchetti and poaching them until the mixture is finished. The gnocchietti rise to the surface when cooked (about 5 minutes). If cooking large quantities of gnocchetti, to prevent over cooking, take the cooked ones out with a slotted spoon before slipping in the new ones, but with the above amounts this will not be necessary.

Ladle broth and a few gnocchetti into each bowl and present with grated cheese.


The pasta I use is commercially made, but when I eat brodo in Sicily at my zia Niluzza’s (my father’s sister) makes fresh quadrettini (little squares) – she cuts the fresh pasta amazingly quickly.


2 thoughts on “GNOCHETI DE GRIES (as called in Trieste), GNOCCHETTI DI SEMOLINO (Italian), SEMOLINA Small GNOCCHI”

  1. Marisa, thank you so much for the Triestin recipes!
    I am from Triestino heritage and although I know many of the traditional recipes, some of the harder ones my mamma with Dementia never got around to showing me, as we always thought we would have more time. As I have now taken over the traditional dishes, you have filled in the gaps for me.
    Your accounts from your childhood meals, as well as your methods, are pretty much identical to ours.
    From the bottom of my heart, thank you! I can now rest assured I can pass on all these recipes to my daughter and son.
    Ps when I scoured the Internet for a recipe on how to make Baccala, yours was the only one exactly like the one my mamma made at Easter and Christmas. I now make it perfectly and my brother is also so thankful
    Very best regards, Barbara

    1. I am so pleased that you enjoyed the recipes. I have just finished making brodo and I was thinking of making gnocchetti rather than using pastina. As I write this, I can smell the mixture – it is fascinating how those memories of smell and taste stay with us.

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