There is nothing better than eating a warm, hearty meal in the cold weather we’re experiencing at the moment. Lately, it’s been so grim and chilly – an early sign of the holidays yet to come, eh? Much like tartiflette, these cheesy potato gnocchi are considered a slight calorie bomb, but they are so delicious and worth it! They will definitely keep you nice and warm and coming for seconds. Accompanied with the right amount of cheese, you too will enjoy eating that golden crust once it comes out of the oven. The cheesy potato gnocchi dish is excellent on their own, however, you can serve them as a side to any meal in small amounts. Remember, it’s quite filling but I hope you enjoy this creamy, salty and soft goodness!
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what are gnocchi
Gnocchi are Italian small dumplings. The term ‘gnocchi’ comes from the word ‘nocca’- meaning knuckles. Some people also associate the Lombard term ‘knohha’- meaning walnut. They can be based on a variety of ingredients such as potato, semolina, flour, cornmeal, bread crumbs and herbs for seasoning. That’s why it’s very common to eat various types of gnocchi when you dine in Italy. Apparently, the best ones though are the gnocchi made by Italian grandmothers. I tried a batch myself and it was like eating soft clouds.
The shape of gnocchi matters. Generally, you roll them out when make them from scratch and then form small 2.com (1-inch) dumplings. Next, you press a fork or a cheese grater into one side. Do you know why you can find usually three or four fork marks on gnocchi? It’s because it holds the sauce better and you get a bit more with each bite. Clever! In general, you should serve gnocchi as a main of course instead of a pasta dish. As mentioned above, you can also serve the cheese potato gnocchi as a side to other delicious Italian dishes!
history of gnocchi
Some historians say that gnocchi are pasta’s predecessor when it comes to the history of Italian cuisine. Gnocchi go back all the way to the Renaissance period in Northern Italy where they apparently first made their appearance. Back then, this dish was used for formal feasts and royal banquets. It wasn’t until the fifteenth century when gnocchi became more popular and Italian cooks started to experiment more with the flavours. Back then, you’ll find that gnocchi were known as ‘zanzarelli’ because of the addition of bread, milk and ground almonds.
In was mid-sixteenth century when the cook Bartolomeo Scappi discovered the power of the cheese grater that gave gnocchi its unique shape. Soon after, cooks started adding eggs, bread crumbs and the whole recipe evolved into the gnocchi that we know today. Today, for example, the Tuscans still use the historic term for gnocchi, which is ‘gnudi’ – meaning badly made. Did you know that you can find different types of gnocchi throughout Italy – especially up in the North? Cheesy potato gnocchi definitely originate in the region of Piedmont and Lombardy. There, it’s very common to serve gnocchi with a cheesy sauce with butter and parmesan. However, in other parts of Italy, such as Verona, you’ll find gnocchi in tomato sauce. What type of gnocchi is your favourite?
If you don’t want to fiddle with making your own gnocchi, thank goodness, that there are suitable alternatives. You can just buy a pre-made pack of gnocchi in your local supermarket. Just make sure not to overcook the gnocchi when they are boiling. Remember, they’ll get a second round of cooking with the cheese in the oven. Otherwise, your cheesy potato gnocchi will be a bit mushy. I like to have a bit of a bite, so I tend to leave my gnocchi a bit firm.
I used gruyere cheese, dolce latte and parmesan for these cheesy potato gnocchi. However, feel free to have other types of cheeses. Some people have used mozzarella, others also like to use ricotta. Why don’t you try making ‘quattro fromaggi’ gnocchi? It is with four different types of cheese just like a pizza. Of course, if you are not so keen on using blue cheese then simply don’t add it. Once you are done adding the cheese into the pan with the gnocchi, put the whole thing in the oven and wait. Remember to only take it out once you see a beautiful golden layer on top. That’s my favourite part of the cheesy potato gnocchi, the delicious crunch.
add a bit of luxury
As we know, end of October till January is the wonderful season of truffle. At least in high-end cuisine. In these winter months, you can find truffle in practically any delicacy or high-end meal. Whether it be truffle in a cheese, sprinklings of truffle oil over food or simple truffles shavings over pasta dishes. If you want to make this cheesy potato gnocchi divine and more elegant, I highly recommend you shaving a bit of black truffle over the top.
Be careful though, the black truffle is quite heavy on taste so if you’ve never tried it, go easy on the shavings. If you don’t have access to truffle or can’t find it anywhere, you can also add a few drops of black truffle oil over the top of the cheesy potato gnocchi. The truffle will work wonderfully with the creamy potato texture.
toppings and sides
As this dish is heavy on cheese and cream, it’s nice to have something to lighten things up. That’s why I usually top my cheesy potato gnocchi with herbs like parsley. Although, itfyou plan to eat the cheesy potato gnocchi as a main, then a simple side salad will do the trick with a nice vinaigrette. If you want a fancy salad on the side, why not give the rocket salad with Parma ham, papaya, parmesan and pecan nuts a whirl?
I find the cheesy potato gnocchi very similar to the avocado mac and cheese. Although, the latter might be a tad healthier.
Cheesy Potato Gnocchi
Author: Michelle Minnaar
- 400g (14 oz) packet of potato gnocchi
- 284ml (½ pt) double cream
- 125g (4oz) dolcelatte
- 55g (2oz) Gruyere
- 25g (1oz) Parmesan, grated
- Cook the gnocchi in boiling, salted water according to packet instructions, or until the dumplings float to the surface. Drain well and put into a large, shallow, heatproof dish.
- Pour the double cream in a small saucepan and stir in the dolcelatte and Gruyere until the cheese has melted.
- Pour the sauce over the gnocchi, sprinkle with Parmesan and grill for 1-2 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve with salad.
Courses Main Course
Serving Size 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 33.6 g
Saturated Fat 20.1 g
Cholesterol 118 mg
Sodium 340 mg
Total Carbohydrates 35.7 g
Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
Sugars 0.1 g
Protein 17.7 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
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A special thanks to Kelly Reeve for assisting with the recipe shoot.