If you don’t like gorgonzola, just stop reading now. I won’t take it personally. If you do like gorgonzola, this might be one of the best things you have ever tried. When I was living in Florence, my favorite hole in the wall neighborhood restaurant made the best gnocchi I have ever had. Every time we went to dinner there, I already knew I was going to have the gnocchi, but I was always faced with an impossible decision; gnocchi with walnut pesto or gnocchi with gorgonzola. It was like the Sophie’s Choice of pasta sauces. One evening I was expressing my dilemma to my favorite waiter, he walked away with our order before I had made my decision and when he returned with our meal, my gnocchi had both walnut and gorgonzola sauce. My mind just could not comprehend what it was seeing on my plate. Then I took my first bite and all was right with the world.
For some reason I remembered this magical gnocchi the other day and decided I must attempt to make it. This is not an exact replica of the recipe, but pretty close. In the original, the walnut part of the sauce was more of a pesto, blended and smooth. I was in a hurry to watch The Real Housewives of Orange County, so making pesto just wasn’t going to happen. Priorities, I have them. The chopped walnuts did give a nice texture to the whole meal though. Gnocchi with a cheese/pesto sauce could be kinda boring texture-wise, especially since the gnocchi was kinda chewy. My onions kinda, sorta got a little browner than they should have, so the sauce is a bit darker, but it had no impact on the taste.
Now, true confessions time. I totally didn’t make this gnocchi, just the sauce. The other day while I was walking about Whole Foods, I saw a gluten-free sign on their fresh pasta case. Gnocchi is pretty much the only pasta I like, since it usually potato/not wheat based, so this definitely caught my interest. Pre-made gnocchi also helped make a quick meal. From onion chopping to plating, all this took about 15 minutes. Unfortunately, the gnocchi wasn’t amazing. It was pretty good, but kinda sticky and chewy. I definitely preferred my homemade attempts, but in a pinch this could do.
Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and Walnut Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, finely chopped
⅓ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
4½ ounces (125 g) Gorgonzola cheese
1 package fresh or frozen gnocchi
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the onion, and cook gently for about 5 minutes until soft. Now add the walnuts, and cook for another couple of minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the flour, then add a little milk. Return to the heat, and add the remaining milk, stirring constantly for 4-6 minutes until the sauce thickens.
Remove from the heat again, and stir in the Gorgonzola. Season with salt and pepper.
In a separate saucepan, cook the gnocchi as the package directs. Drain well. Add to the sauce, stirring gently to coat.
Pumpkin is pretty gross looking. The look and smell definitely do not appeal. I’ve actually only had pumpkin once before. It was also gnocchi form. It was pretty delicious. Since pumpkin seems to be absolutely every where this time of year, I decided to give it a whirl. This recipe was also absolutely delicious.
I must say that homemade gnocchi was not as difficult to make as I thought it would be. Not that it’s a meal to make every night, but it definitely seems a lot more daunting than it really is. The most time consuming part of the whole thing, was waiting for water to boil.
The recipe for the gnocchi will generously serve 4 people or 2 with plenty of leftovers for a whole other meal.
Now I just need to figure out how to use up the rest of this pumpkin…
Gluten Free Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage-Brown Butter Sauce
1 pound/450g of potatoes (around 3 medium russet potatoes)
1/3 cup/75g pumpkin puree
3/4 cup/160g flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Mix)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5-6 sprigs of fresh sage
Bring small pot of salted water to a boil. While water is heating, peel potatoes, cut into pieces and add to boiling water. When cooked, drain from pot and allow to cool slightly. When cooled, press potatoes through ricer or mash until smooth in a large bowl.
Add pumpkin puree, flour, nutmeg, salt and egg to bowl. Mix together until sticky, but clean to the touchy (ie, doesn’t stick to you).
Divide dough into four. On a clean, well floured surface take one section of dough and roll out into long skinny ‘snake’ about one inch thick. Cut dough into 1-inch pieces. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling, add in gnocchi (you might have to work in batches). Gnocchi will rise to the surface and allow to boil for 2-3 minutes. When done remove from water with a slotted spoon and allow to drain.
In a large pan melt butter over medium-high heat. When melted, add gnocchi (you might have to work in batches or use multiple pans) and allow to crisp. Flip to crisp on other side. When done, add another pat of butter, melt and allow to start to brown/caramelize and chopped sage. Cook sage until crispy.
Put gnocchi on plates, top with sage-butter sauce and top with grated parmesan and freshly ground pepper.