Italian Recipes for Meatless Days

By 1917, certain foods were in short supply, especially meat, wheat for bread, butter and sugar.  Here is a recipe that appeared in January.  I liked the elegant suggestions about serving the Gnocchi alla Romana.  Definitely for the middle-class housewife who maybe has lost her live-in cook!


Risotto in Bianco
Half a pound of rice, washed and dried; two pints of broth; two ounces of butter (or less if preferred); two tablespoons of grated cheese. Bring the broth to boil, then throw in the rice; boil until the broth is absorbed (about twenty minutes), then remove from the fire and stir in the butter and cheese.

Serve in a hot covered dish. Sufficient for five persons.


Gnocchi alla Romana
3/4 pint Water
3/4 pint Milk
1/2 pound Semolina
Grated cheese

  1. Boil the semolina in the milk-and-water, with salt to taste for fifteen or twenty minutes, stirring well occasionally to prevent lumps from forming.
  2. Pour out on to a marble slab, or onto a large flat baking dish, and when somewhat cooled cut into squares, circles, or ovals, with a glass cutter
  3. Place the little cakes of semolina (one overlapping the other so as not to leave spaces) in one more well-buttered baking dishes
  4. Sprinkle well with grated cheese, and bake till a delicious brown in fairly hot oven.

Serve hot.

Sufficient for five or six persons.

The dish used for baking must be a sightly one, as it has to appear on the table; copper or earthenware chafing dishes are the best, placed with a serviette under, on a large plate or dish.


2 pints = 1.1 litres
0.75 pints = 0.4 litres
2 oz (ounces) = 57 grams

Many people were still cooking over a fire in 1917

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