Thursday, March 8, 2012

Gnocchi Mac n Cheese

See notes below for yield information

I came across this recipe on The Cutting Edge of Ordinary, who in turn got it from Noble Pig.

  • 1 pound purchased or homemade gnocchi
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 C milk
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 C shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 C shredded fontina cheese
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1/3 C shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
1. Preheat oven to 375. 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.
2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 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.
3. 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.
4. Pour sauce over gnocchi and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano over top. Bake gnocchi until they puff and the cheese is golden and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Let gnocchi rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Robyn's notes: this is fantastic, absolutely wonderful. The spots where the sauce has crisped in the oven are absolutely the best parts, and our forks fought over the last few gnocchi to get that bit of crunch. I've made the recipe twice, actually, because I had some question about the yield. The recipe calls for 1 pound of gnocchi, which is definitely more than 2 servings, but the amount of cheese in the sauce didn't seem like enough to create a sauce for 4 servings. Many of the commenters on the blog where I found this mentioned making this recipe and serving themselves, their spouse, and their children, which indicated that it served 4 people, but I still didn't trust the sauce to go that far. So I made the dish once just for me, using the full amount of sauce but half as much gnocchi. Tasted great but way too much sauce. According to the gnocchi package (I was lazy and used store-bought), 1 pound is 3 servings. When I made the full recipe, as listed above, the two of us polished it off easily and would not have left any for another person, so I'm not reducing any of the measurements. Be aware that this should probably be considered a treat or a splurge, and is more than 2 servings but less than 4.

***** 5 Stars: Excellent. A favourite for both of us, I will make this repeatedly

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cookbook Review: Healthy Cooking For Two (Or Just You)

Author: Frances Price, R.D.
Subtitled: Low-Fat Recipes with Half the Fuss and Double the Taste
Published: 1995 by Rodale, re-released 1997 with a different cover but same contents
Available for Purchase: Amazon, Powell's

Within the first few months of purchasing this cookbook I had made around 50% of the recipes, and have since increased that to nearly 80%. There were only two occasions where we felt that a dish shouldn't go on the 'repeat' list, which is a great record, especially as compared to the other 'cooking for two' books I have. Great results come with basic skills, and the focus is on fresh ingredients as opposed to canned or frozen.

I love that this cookbook is focused on the recipes. There are two sections in the beginning with tips and techniques, and the occasional in-depth ingredient explanation fleshing out a recipe, but there is no space that's wasted that could better be devoted to recipes.

Each entry is listed in column format, with a column for the measurements to serve 1, and a column for the measurements to serve 2. A few recipes have a column for 2 and a column for 4, but they are the exception.

I never give cookbooks as gifts, because people have such different tastes and needs when cooking, but made an exception for this one. I bought a second copy for a friend and have considered buying copies for my sister and mom. All three households have two or fewer people and the variety of recipes would allow everyone to find dishes that satisfy them.

The only photo in the book is the one on the cover, so for those who need pictures of the completed dish to guide or inspire them, that may be a problem. This is actually the cookbook that cured me of that stumbling block, and I'm a better cook for it. Basic nutritional information is included for each recipe.

Recipes I've made from this cookbook:
Hong Kong Primavera with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Baked Potato Soup with Broccoli & Cheddar
Bachelor's Prize Chicken

***** 5 Stars: Excellent. A favourite for both of us, I cook from this repeatedly