For the second recipe from la scuola di cucina di Lella, I am posting gnocchi al gorgonzola. Gnocchi are a type of pasta that are really more dumpling-like than pasta-like. They are made with potatoes which give them a completely different taste and texture than other types of pasta. This is a type of dish very typical of northern Italy, especially with the gorgonzola sauce. Although I am giving these two recipes together, they definitely can be used seperately. You can serve the gnocchi with any type of sauce you like. You can also use the gorgonzola sauce with other types of pasta, or even with rice or polenta. But in my opinion, the creaminess of this sauce goes well with the smoothness of the potatoes in the gnocchi. Don't be afraid of the gorgonzola because it is a blue cheese! It is mild enough in the sauce and melts well to be nice and creamy.
For the gnocchi:
Start by boiling the potatoes whole with their skins still on. When they are done (tender with a fork), drain them immediately. Let them cool for a little while, but not too long. When making the gnocchi dough, you want the potatoes to still be warm, but not hot. When they are an appropriate temperature, use a potato ricer to mash them onto your work surface. (This little machine really makes a difference, it's like a huge garlic press, but for potatoes.) Make a well in the middle of the pile of potatoes, sprinkle generously with flour, crack an egg in the hole, and add a pinch of salt. With a fork, start mixing the egg in the middle. Gradually push the potatoes and flour into the egg and work together to make a dough. If it is too sticky, add more flour as necessary. It should be a little sticky, but not too messy. When you have the dough formed, cut off one small piece at a time to make the gnocchi. With the piece you have cut, start rolling on a well floured surface into a long tube, something like a sausage, that should be about the thickness of your finger. At this point, cut the tube of dough into small pieces, a little smaller than an inch in length. Each of these pieces will become the gnocchi. You can use a gnocchi board or the back of a fork to form the gnocchi. First roll them gently in a circular motion, and then roll them off the gnocchi board or the fork to give them the lines that will make the sauce stick to them better. Cook in a large pot of salted water. The gnocchi are done as soon as they rise to the surface. This will be very quick, maybe a minute or less, depending on the size of the gnocchi. Use a slotted spoon to fish them out and place directly into another pan containing whatever sauce you want to serve them with. In this case, the gorgonzola.
For the sugo al gorgonzola:
gorgonzola dolce cheese
In a pan over a low flame, melt together the butter and gorgonzola cheese. This should be just hot enough to melt them, not to cook them. When they are starting to get nice and melty, sprinkle generously with black pepper. (Note: this sauce will not need salt because the cheese should be salty enough.) Add just enough cream to make it saucy and mix everything together until it has a nice smooth consistency. Add a handful of parmesan and remove from the heat. Add the gnocchi and enjoy!