LA Chefs’ Plates: Gnocchi alla Romana by Chef Bruce Kalman

(Originally published January 25, 2013 on

According to Kalman, “Fresh pasta, to me, is as handcrafted as food can get. It is my true passion in cooking, because of its simplistic nature and it’s tenacious character. The possibilities of combinations of flavors, fillings, etc. is endless.”

Gnocchi alla Romana

Inspiration – I thought of this dish as I was looking back at some of the dishes we prepared at Park Ave Café in NYC with David Burke, and there was a dish he put together marrying a pork chop with clams, and I will always remember how wonderful the profile of that flavor combination was.

Sourcing – for the pork belly I am going to get Mangalitsa pork from Mosefund Farms in Branchville, NJ, a true Mangalitsa pig farm. The pea tendrils, green garlic and rosemary are from Coleman Farms

Prep, Cooking and Plating – for the gnocchi, it is a simple procedure, similar to making polenta, you heat milk, then whisk in semolina and reduce the heat, only cooking for about 4-5 minutes, then add butter, eggs and parmesan cheese, and of course salt and pepper. The porchetta is a 3 day process for me; 1st I brine the pork for 24 hours, then rinse and rub it with my porchetta seasoning and allow it to dry out and encapsulate. Then it goes into plastic and foil and in the oven, sort of a cheap sous vide technique, cooking for 3-4 hours, until it will completely fall apart. Once it is cooled completely, cut a slice and crisp it on a flat top on both sides. The clams are cooked with fresno chiles, green garlic and rosemary, then finished with white wine and pork or chicken stock; topped with crisp snap pea tendrils and crunchy toasted quinoa

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