Gnocchi in Truffle Cheese Sauce

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I must warn you, if you like gnocchi that is purchased from the store do not ever make your own, ever, ever make your own.  I’m ruined, my life was easier when I picked up a pack of refrigerated gnocchi dropped in boiling water and almost like magic, it was ready.

Why did I think I want to make my own?  I can’t recall what was my motivation, I think it’s because I bought some truffle cheese and felt that a luxurious ingredient such as truffles deserved to be served with the finest of ingredients.  The problem is, I was right.  I will never buy a package of gnocchi in the store again, I probably won’t ever order it in a restaurant again for fear that it will not be the perfect pillows of potatoes that I made.

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Since this was the first time I’ve made gnocchi I took a photo tutorial of the actual making of the gnocchi (not baking and ricing the potatoes) more for me than anyone else.  I slightly adapted Michael Chiarello’s Potato Gnocci recipe.  It’s funny when you are looking for a recipe that you’ve never made what makes you pick one recipe over another; especially when you have zero knowledge on what would make one recipe better than another.  The only reason that I choose his recipe is because he bakes his potatoes versus boiling them and encourages you to save the potato skins for another use.  I love that…so if you make these, save your potato skins (you can guess what my next post will be).

Potatoes are baked, the flesh scooped out and riced.  After ricing the potatoes, they get piled on top of the counter while they are still warm but not overly hot.  Make a deep well, add the parmesan, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Crack eggs into the well.

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Gently mix the ingredients together, then add 1/2 cup of flour. “Fold the mass over on itself and press down again. Sprinkle on more flour, little by little, folding and pressing the dough until it just holds together, (try not to knead it.) Work any dough clinging to your fingers back into the dough. If the mixture is too dry, add another egg yolk or a little water. The dough should give under slight pressure. It will feel firm but yielding. To test if the dough is the correct consistency, take a piece and roll it with your hands on a well-floured board into a rope 1/2-inch in diameter. If the dough holds together, it is ready. If not, add more flour, fold and press the dough several more times, and test again.” I used 1 cup of flour by the time I was done.

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Separate the dough into eight pieces and check your iPad to make sure you are doing it right.

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“Roll each piece into a rope about 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut into 1/2-inch-long pieces. Lightly flour the gnocchi as you cut them. You can cook these as is or form them into the classic gnocchi shape with a gnocchi board, ridged butter paddle, or the tines of a large fork turned upside down. Rest the bottom edge of the gnocchi board on the work surface, then tilt it at about a 45 degree angle. Take each piece and squish it lightly with your thumb against the board while simultaneously pushing it away from you. It will roll away and around your thumb, taking on a cupped shape — with ridges on the outer curve from the board and a smooth surface on the inner curve where your thumb was. (Shaping them takes some time and dexterity. You might make a batch just for practice.) The indentation holds the sauce and helps gnocchi cook faster.”

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I just happened to have a butter paddle that I picked up in a second hand store last year so I used it to shape my gnocchi.  It doesn’t look like store bought, as a matter of fact they don’t look cup shaped…but they look like they were made with love.

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Dust a parchment sheet with flour to store them on. “Set gnocchi filled cookie sheet in front of a fan on low for 1/2 hour (turning gnocchi after 15 minutes).”  I did not do this, I just let them air dry (it’s very dry here in Montana any ways).

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Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to boil, add salt.  Boil the gnocchi until they raise to the surface.  Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to fetch them out.  Shake off the excess water, serve immediately.

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To make the sauce, grate 1 cup of truffled cheese.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a non-stick pot or pan, add 2 tablespoons flour and whisk together until they are combined and the mixture starts to bubble.  Slowly pour in 1 1/2 cups milk plus 1/2 cup half and half, whisking all the while.  Bring sauce to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  Stir in grated cheese until melted and homogenous.  Salt and pepper to taste.

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Prepare yourself for possibly the best gnocchi and truffled cheese sauce that has every passed a human’s lips.

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Please excuse me while I take a nap on a pillow of gnocchi.

 

Potato Gnocchi
Serves 4
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. Kosher salt
  2. 2 pounda russet potatoes
  3. 3 to 4 large egg yolks
  4. 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  5. 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  6. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  8. 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting board and dough
Instructions from Michael Chiarello with some modifications
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Spread a layer of kosher salt on a baking sheet and arrange the potatoes on top (see Note). Bake until a bit overcooked, about 45 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle, cut in half, and scoop out the flesh. Reserve the potato skins, if desired, for another use.
  3. Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer or grate them on the large holes of a box grater. You should have about 4 cups. Make a mound of potatoes on the counter with a well in the middle, add 3 of the egg yolks, the cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix in the potatoes and mix well with hands. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the flour over the potatoes and, using your knuckles, press it into the potatoes. Fold the mass over on itself and press down again. Sprinkle on more flour, little by little, folding and pressing the dough until it just holds together, (try not to knead it.) Work any dough clinging to your fingers back into the dough. If the mixture is too dry, add another egg yolk or a little water. The dough should give under slight pressure. It will feel firm but yielding. To test if the dough is the correct consistency, take a piece and roll it with your hands on a well-floured board into a rope 1/2-inch in diameter. If the dough holds together, it is ready. If not, add more flour, fold and press the dough several more times, and test again.
  4. Keeping your work surface and the dough lightly floured, cut the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut into 1/2-inch-long pieces. Lightly flour the gnocchi as you cut them. You can cook these as is or form them into the classic gnocchi shape with a gnocchi board, ridged butter paddle, or the tines of a large fork turned upside down. Rest the bottom edge of the gnocchi board on the work surface, then tilt it at about a 45 degree angle. Take each piece and squish it lightly with your thumb against the board while simultaneously pushing it away from you. It will roll away and around your thumb, taking on a cupped shape -- with ridges on the outer curve from the board and a smooth surface on the inner curve where your thumb was. (Shaping them takes some time and dexterity) The indentation holds the sauce and helps gnocchi cook faster.
  5. As you shape the gnocchi, dust them lightly with flour and scatter them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or waxed paper. Optional if you are in a dry climate: set gnocchi filled cookie sheet in front of a fan on low for 1/2 hour (turning gnocchi after 15 minutes). If you will not cook the gnocchi until the next day or later, freeze them. Alternatively, you can poach them now, drain and toss with a little olive oil, let cool, then refrigerate several hours or overnight. To reheat, dip in hot water for 10 to 15 seconds, then toss with browned butter until hot.
  6. When ready to cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Drop in the gnocchi and cook for about 90 seconds from the time they rise to the surface. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a skimmer, shake off the excess water, and serve as desired.
Notes
  1. Baking potatoes on a layer of salt allows heat to circulate 360 degrees. Scrape the salt into a jar and reuse it again and again. If you do not have time to shape the gnocchi, you can freeze the dough, defrost it in the refrigerator, and then shape it. To freeze shaped gnocchi, line baking sheets with waxed paper and dust with flour. Spread the gnocchi on the prepared sheets and freeze until hard. Remove to individual-portion-size freezer bags. Store in the freezer for up to 1 month. To cook, drop the frozen gnocchi into boiling salted water. Cook for about 2 minutes after they rise to the surface.
Adapted from Michael Chirello from Foodnetwork.com
Adapted from Michael Chirello from Foodnetwork.com
The Kitchen Witch http://www.thekitchenwitchblog.com/

 

Truffle Cheese Sauce
Serves 4
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons butter
  2. 2 tablespoons flour
  3. 1 1/2 cup milk
  4. 1/2 cup half and half
  5. 1 cup grated truffle cheese
  6. Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a non-stick pot or pan, add 2 tablespoons flour and whisk together until they are combined and the mixture starts to bubble. Slowly pour in 1 1/2 cups milk plus 1/2 cup half and half, whisking all the while. Bring sauce to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Stir in grated cheese until melted and homogenous. Salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
  1. Truffle oil can be added to boost the truffle flavor if desired.
The Kitchen Witch http://www.thekitchenwitchblog.com/
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Informal Cookery Definitions A to Z

Bourguignonne.  (boor-gee-NYOHN).  French for “in the style of Burgundy”, as in the Burgundy wine growing region in France.

Braise.  Originally it meant to cook something over low coals, as in a brazier, now it refers to the technique of browning or sautéing then adding a liquid and cooking in the same pot or pan on a low heat until tender.  You can read about my Daring Cooks Challenge on braising here.

Bran.  The unrefined husk of the wheat.  You can use it as a whole grain, like in flour and it is commonly used in cereal.  For cereal the bran is still milled with the toughest part culled and used for stock feed.

Brandade de Morue.  (brohn-dahd dih mo-ROO).  A popular French way of preparing salt cod.  See Bacalao.

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10 Responses to Gnocchi in Truffle Cheese Sauce

  1. Amanda Jane March 21, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    My gosh, these look so completely delicious. Definitely a must try!

    • Giggles March 21, 2012 at 9:51 am #

      Thanks Amanda, they are well worth the effort.

  2. Karen March 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Oh, my. You know, I’ve never even tried the store bought gnocchi. Guess I better not, now! I’ve always wanted to make this – it’s on my looong list of recipes I want to make!

    • Giggles March 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

      The list of recipes to make just gets longer and longer! Next I think I’ll tackle homemade pasta, couldn’t be any harder.

  3. Feast on the Cheap March 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Ha, who’s ruining whose diet NOW?! Looks amazing…so decadently amazing.

  4. The Smart Cookie Cook March 21, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    Oh my, this sounds divine. Of course I read this close to dinnertime, so I’m DROOLING. Props on making your own gnocchi. It looks wonderful.

    • Giggles March 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

      So dangerous to read food blogs when you are hungry!

  5. Eliot March 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    OK—-I don’t want to make my own gnocchi. I am perfectly happy being lazy and buying it from the store. Why did you have to ruin my fantasy here?

    So, since I will now be making it, any ideas on what to use if one doesn’t have a gnocchi board???

    • Giggles March 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

      If I didn’t have a gnocchi board I wouldn’t bother, I’d just cut em and boil em. Nobody will care, they will still be delicious little potato pillows!

  6. Kitchen Butterfly March 23, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    Your photos are making me go crazy. And you are on point – the difference between homemade and ‘the others’ is miles…..apart. Good on you.