Chickpea Gnocchi (Panelle Alla Romana)
5 cups water
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
2¾ cups chickpea flour (see headnote)
2 large eggs
Freshly grated nutmeg
4½ tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for greasing the baking sheet
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Warm tomato sauce, for serving
Combine the water, oil, salt and pepper in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil.
Gradually add the chickpea flour, whisking constantly, until evenly incorporated. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes; the mixture should be somewhat smooth, but you may still have lumps. Taste, and add salt if needed. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and stir with a fork until evenly blended. Stir a spoonful of the chickpea flour mixture into the beaten eggs to temper them, then stir the eggs and a few gratings of fresh nutmeg into the saucepan to form a thick, soft dough. If it is particularly stiff and lumpy, use an immersion (stick) blender to make it smooth and a bit more supple.
Lightly grease a spatula (offset would work nicely) with cooking oil spray. Spoon the dough onto a cool work surface, using the spatula to spread it evenly into a slab that's about 10 inches square and ¾ inch thick. It helps to have a marble slab or other work surface that's cool to the touch for spreading the chickpea mixture, but it's not a requirement. Let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes, until fairly firm.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with a little butter.
Use a sharp knife to cut the slab of gnocchi dough into 2-inch squares, arranging them on the baking sheet in rows that slightly overlap. Scatter the butter pieces and cheese evenly over the gnocchi. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until a golden crust forms on top.
Serve warm, with the sauce. Makes about 25 large gnocchi. Serve two pieces as an appetizer with tomato sauce, or serve 3 to 4 pieces as a main course, with sauce and a salad, or perhaps as a base for saucy beans, mushrooms or stews.
Nutrition: Per serving (based on 8): 290 calories, 9 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 21 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 200 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar.
Adapted from "Vegetables," by Antonio Carluccio (Quadrille Publishing, 2016).