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.


13 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.

  2. Thank you so much for this recipe. My mum passed away over 2 years ago, but during the year previous to her passing she tried to make these for me as she had done when I was a child. Alas she could not remember all the ingredients. I am so.fortunate to now have found your recipe and it will be attempted in memory of my mum.

      1. My mum was from a small village in the Pordenone district but worked in Trieste for some years before migrating to Australia.

        1. Bye-bye, Luisa,
          my father was born at Trieste in nineteen twenty-one. My mother was born at Istria in nineteen twenty-three. For this i know “gnochi de griès”, wich one of the my favorite dishes.

          1. My mother’s family moved from Catania in Sicily when she was five. My father, also Sicilian, was stationed in Trieste during the war as a policeman -during the war, they were either allocated to do service in the Military or in the Police. He met my mother during this time. I grew up in Trieste before I went to Australia and visited Sicily during summer vacations.

  3. Good morning. I am Silvia, from Padova, Italy. About “Gnocheti de semolin”, I want say even I ate this dish, and my mother it add always lemon zest and juice. Finally always nutmeg. This ingredients confer to “gnocheti” a pleasant aroma.

    1. Grazie Silvia…..mia mamma metteva la noce moscata, ma mi piace l’uso del limone. lo provero`

  4. My mother was from Fiume, now Rijeka, and gnochetti de gris was a common addition to brodo. Ours were made with just egg, semolina and some salt.
    I have followed on in this tradition and my daughter sent me the link to this site because she remembers being fed these when growing up.

    1. Thank you. There are obviously some variations in all recipes. As a child, it was my job to mix the ingredients together.Sometimes I made the mixture too sloppy and my mum would intervene and add more semolino(semolina in English).

  5. I am sorry, i forget more time these comments about recipes from Trieste. But i can’t get speack English well. Today I ‘m going to ask who knows the ricepe about “Putiza”, a cake whose talked my aunt.
    Thank you. Silvia

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