If you're getting sick of posts using Fontina cheese, you should probably just come back later. Sticking with the theme of fontina drenched recipes, this week I made some Stringy Gnocchi, or Gnocchi alla Bava. It's basically just gnocchi mixed with melted fontina, getting its name from the way the fontina stretches with every bite.
This was my second time making home-made gnocchi, and I must say they came out much better than my first attempt. I used the same recipe, but my technique has definitely improved! Just takes a little practice. I made my Stringly Gnocchi by just melting the fontina with a little cream on the stovetop and then mixing that in with the gnocchi. However, an alternative is to cook the gnocchi, layer it in a baking dish with the diced fontina, and then bake it for a few minutes until the cheese melts. I may try this next time. I found that when melting the fontina on the stovetop, the cheese began to return to a solid very quickly after leaving the pan and didn't retain its melty quality for very long. What worked better was shredding the fontina, omitting the cream, and adding it directly to the cooked gnocchi, allowing the gnocchi to melt the cheese itself. One more thought: if you want to really get crazy, this recipe would be great with some diced artichoke hearts added in!
Sorry I don't have a good picture of this one - I'll put one up as soon as possible. Or, if you make this dish, feel free to share your picture!
Stringy Gnocchi - Gnocchi alla Bava
Adapted from Inside Italy
For the Gnocchi:
4 large russet potatoes
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces fontina cheese, shredded
2 tablespoond butter, softened and diced
- Fill a large pot with cold water and add salt. Place the potatoes (with the skin still on) in the pot. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until a fork can pierce them easily (about 40-50 minutes).
- Remove the potatoes from the water and peel each. You may want to use a kitchen towel to hold the potatoes if they are too hot. Mash the potatoes by either putting them through a potato ricer or by running the tines of a fork down the side of the potato. Don't over mash the potatoes. You just want them to be a fluffy potato base to work with.
- Spread the potatoes over a cutting board and let the potatoes cool for about 10 minutes.
- Using either a bowl or the cutting board, pull the potatoes into a soft mound and drizzle with the beaten egg. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the flour over the top. Fold the mixture onto itself until the egg and flour are well incorporated.
- Lightly knead the dough for about 5 minutes, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky. Don't be afraid of adding more flour. If there isn't enough flour, the gnocchi will come out sticky and mushy.
- Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Gently roll each piece into a long, snake shaped piece about the thickness of your thumb.
- Cut the pieces every 3/4 inch. Roll a fork over each piece, creating grooves in the gnocchi. Set aside and dust with a little more flour until ready to cook.
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook about 2-3 minutes just until golden. Set aside.
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Season with salt. Add the gnocchi in batches, about 25 at a time. The gnocchi is finished when they rise to the surface. Remove the gnocchi and place in a large serving bowl. Cover with foil to keep hot while cooking the remaining gnocchi.
- Once the gnocchi is finished cooking, add the fontina, garlic, and butter to the gnocchi. Stir to incorporate and melt the cheese. If the sauce is too thick for your liking, add just a few spoonfuls of the water the gnocchi was cooked in to thin the sauce. Serve hot.
Ryan's rating of Stringy Gnocchi - 4.