Saturday, March 3, 2007

Gnocchi With Gorgonzola Sauce

Gnocchi Alla Gorgonzola (Makes 8 servings)

"I love Gorgonzola cheese--eaten as is or in a sauce for pasta or gnocchi." Gorgonzola comes in three grades: dolce (sweet), medio (medium) and piccante (piquant). Depending on your preference, any one of the three can be used for this sauce.

Pick the type of Gorgonzola cheese you use for this recipe according to your preference. Dolce or dolce latte will give you a sweeter sauce; piccante a sharper sauce.

Gorgonzola continues to age as it is stored in the refrigerator, intensifying in piquancy as it does. To slow this process down, wrap the cheese tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the coldest part of the refrigerator. This sauce is a good way to use left over Gorgonzola cheese.

Ingredients: Potato Gnocchi
6 large Idaho or russet potatoes
2 tbs. plus 1 tsp. salt
Dash of freshly ground white pepper
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups unbleached flour
Grated Parmigiano for serving

Gorgonzola Sauce:
1/2 cup [Vegetable] Stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces Gorgonzola
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions: Gnocchi
Boil the potatoes in their skins about 40 minutes, until easily pierced with a skewer. When cool enough to handle, peel and rice the potatoes, and set them aside to cool completely, spreading them loosely to expose as much surface as possible to air. (The reason for this is to allow as much evaporation of moisture as possible to avoid the need of additional flour, therefore keeping the gnocchi light).

Before proceeding further, bring 6 quarts of water and 2 tbs. of the salt to a boil. On a cool, preferably marble work surface, gather the cold potatoes into a mound, forming a well in the center. Stir the remaining 1 tsp. salt and the white pepper into the beaten eggs and pour the mixture into the well. Work the potatoes and eggs together with both hands, gradually adding 3 cups of the flour and scraping the dough up from the work surface with a knife as often as necessary. (Incorporation of the ingredients should take no longer than 10 minutes. The longer the dough is worked, the more flour it will require and the heavier it will become).

Dust the dough, your hands, and the work surface lightly with flour and cut the dough into six equal parts. Continue to dust dough, hands, and surface as long as the dough feel sticky.
Using both hands, roll each piece of dough into a rope 1/2” thick, then slice the ropes at 1/2” intervals. Indent each dumpling with a thumb, or use the tines of a fork to produce a ribbed effect. (This facilitates adhesion of the sauce).

Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat. (If you plan to cook the gnocchi as soon as they are formed, put the water on to boil while the riced potatoes are cooling. If you are cooking previously frozen gnocchi, make sure the water is boiling before you remove the gnocchi from the freezer.)

Bring the stock, cream and butter to a boil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper and boil until the sauce is lightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the gorgonzola until dissolved.

Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water a few at a time, stirring gently and continuously with a wooden spoon. Cook just until they rise to the surface and roll over, 2 to 3 minutes. If the skillet is large enough to accommodate the sauce and gnocchi, gently scoop the gnocchi out of the boiling water with a large wire skimmer and add them directly to the sauce in the skillet. If not, drain the gnocchi gently, return them to the pot and pour in the sauce. Bring the sauce and gnocchi to a boil, stirring gently to coat the gnocchi with sauce. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Check the seasoning, adding salt if necessary. Serve immediately in warm bowls.

Gnocchi With Gorgonzola Sauce

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