Monday, April 30, 2012

Gnocchi Mac n' Cheese

I will never forget the first time I had was a this adorable family-style Italian restaurant in Atlanta where some friends had taken me to celebrate my birthday.  It was served with the most delicious vodka cream sauce and from that moment on I was in love!  Ever since that amazing meal I have not been able to pass up gnocchi whenever I see it on the menu.  One day I am going to try my friends recipe for homemade gnocchi as she learned from her beautiful Italian grandmother, but for now, the store bought is going to have to suffice!

When I saw this recipe I immediately sent the link to my sister-in-law and it was decided we had to make a dinner date to try this new find!!  How could we go wrong, I mean it is a combination of some of my favorite things....gnocchi AND cheese!!!  It did not disappoint!  Everything you hope it is going to be is realized when this amazing dish is served!

Gnocchi Mac n' Cheese

2 pound purchased or homemade gnocchi
1/4 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 shallot minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 oz.shredded Gruyere cheese
4 oz. shredded fontina cheese
Salt and white pepper to taste
Grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
2/3 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
Basil leaves for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 375o F. Prepare gnocchi according to package directions. Drain and place gnocchi in a single-layer in a 1-1/2 quart shallow baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in shallot and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
 Whisk in flour until it thickens and bubbles, then whisk in milk and Dijon. Continue to whisk mixture and cook until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
Combine Gruyere and fontina, then add by the handful to milk mixture, stirring until melted before adding the next handful. Once all cheese is melted, season sauce with salt and pepper, red pepper and nutmeg.
Pour sauce over gnocchi and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano over top. 
 Bake gnocchi until they puff and cheese is golden and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Let gnocchi rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Evidently my brother thought it was even better with some Frank's Red Hot Sauce...
....Maggie thought it was better with Sriracha Sauce
This dish could easily be served as a side dish or you could add some panchetta or sausage and have a hearty, tasty entree!
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