Michael Fracasso's "House Concert, Yay!" Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

Category: 
Main Courses

From "Artist in the Kitchen: A Brief Autobiography in Food," by Michael Fracasso.

Special equipment needed: potato ricer. 

*You can substitute 1/4 teaspoon anise extract with 2 tablespoons of anise-flabored liqueur such as Sambuca. 

Fairly difficult

Michael Fracasso's "House Concert, Yay!" Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

Ingredients

For 4 Person(s)

Sauce

  • For the gorgonzola cream sauce:
  • 1 fennel bulb(s)
  • 1 28 oz. can(s) whole San Marzano Italian tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot(s)
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoons white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoons anise extract* (see substitute above)
  • 3 ounces Gorgonzola cheese

Recipe

  • For the gnocchi:
  • 3 pounds medium Idaho or purple potatoes (new potatoes contain too much starch so are best not to use)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1 large egg(s)
  • 1 tablespoons salt, plus a pinch
  • Cornmeal

Michael Fracasso's "House Concert, Yay!" Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce Directions

  1. For the gnocchi: 
    Lightly coat the outside of the potatoes with a little vegetable oil or wrap them in aluminum foil (to prevent burning).
  2. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 350°. They should be soft to the touch.
  3. Peel the potatoes while they are still rather warm, then rice them into a large bowl.
  4. Create a well in the middle, add the egg and the pinch of salt, and mix.
  5. Sprinkle with the flour about ½ cup at a time—gently mixing to form a ball that is smooth but slightly sticky.
  6. Cut the dough into 8 pieces.
  7. On a floured surface, form each dough ball into a long dowel that’s about 2 feet long and about as thick as a ring finger.Cut into little pillows about 1 inch long.
  8. Place each pillow, one at a time, on the back of a fork, and while pressing on the pillow with the side of your thumb, roll it off the tines of the fork so that your thumb gives it a cleft and the fork adds ridges.
  9. Place the rolled pasta on a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal.
  10. Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil in a large pasta pot.
  11. Add 1 tablespoon of salt, then carefully add the gnocchi so that they don’t splatter or stick together.
  12. When the gnocchi begin to float (after about 2 minutes), remove them with a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl.
  13. Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water and add it to the gnocchi. 
  14. For the gorgonzola cream sauce: 
    Cut the frond end off the top of the fennel bulb and reserve for garnish.
  15. Place the flat side of the bulb down and cut the bulb in half, lengthwise.
  16. Make a V-shaped incision into each half to cut out and discard the hard inner core, then cut the halves into thin slices.
  17. Empty the can of tomatoes into a large bowl and smash the tomatoes with your hands to create a uniform, chunky texture.
  18. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet.
  19. Add the shallots and fennel slices and sauté for about 4 minutes until softened.
  20. Add the salt, pepper and tomatoes and sauté for about 20 minutes—stirring occasionally.
  21. Add the anise extract or liqueur and stir for another minute or so.
  22. Add the Gorgonzola and stir to melt.
  23. Remove from the heat, pour over the gnocchi and garnish with fennel fronds. 

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