Gnocchi Stuffed with Fonduta in Parmesan Cheese–Cream Sauce
Fontina cheese is transformed into enriched pencil-sized strips. These are pressed, one at a time, to similar strips of gnocchi dough, then cut into the individual gnocchi pieces, giving each piece of gnocchi a hit of cheese. The finished gnocchi is dressed with Parmigiano-Regiano cream sauce and sliced truffle. The finished dish is creamy and elegant.
- Italian Fontina Cheese - 1 pound, rind removed, diced, soaked in 1 cup milk
- Egg Yolks - 3
- All-Purpose Flour - 2 tablespoons
- Idaho potatoes - 4 pounds
- Eggs - 3
- Salt - 1⁄2 teaspoon
- Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
- All-Purpose Flour - 3⁄4 cup (approximately)
- Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Heavy Cream - 1 cup
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese - 1⁄2 cup, grated
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Pepper to taste
- Truffle - 1, peeled and thinly sliced
To make the fonduta: In a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water melt the Fontina with its soaking milk until smooth. Whisk in the egg yolks and flour and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, about 7 minutes until smooth and thickened slightly. Be careful not to overcook, as the eggs will curdle and the mixture will separate. Remove the pan from the heat and remove the bowl from the pan. Stir the sauce for 1 minute while the water in the pan cools slightly. Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
When the cheese is cooled enough to handle, but still slightly warm, transfer to a lightly floured work surface and roll into pencil width strips.
To make the gnocchi: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and cook about 35 minutes until very tender. Remove the potatoes from the water and peel. While potatoes are still warm, pass them through a food mill. Allow the potatoes to cool completely.
Spread the milled potatoes on a board and make a well in the center. Put the eggs, salt, and olive oil in the well. Little by little mix in the flour, incorporating it into the potatoes and liquids. Add the minimum amount of flour possible. When a solid dough is formed, start kneading. Gently knead for about 5 minutes, being careful not to overknead, as this will develop the gluten in the flour, making the gnocchi tough.
Remove a small piece of the gnocchi and roll out into a strip the same width but slightly thicker than the fonduta strips. Press a fonduta strip into the gnocchi dough and roll out into a strip. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi and fonduta. Cut the strips crosswise into 1⁄2-inch pieces. (Be careful not to place the strips too close together when cutting into pieces, as they will stick to each other.)
Bring a large pot containing a large quantity of salted water to a boil over high heat. While the water is coming to a boil, make the sauce.
To make the sauce: In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat until golden. Add the cream and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until reduced slightly. Add the cheese, salt, and pepper to taste and cook until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. Keep the sauce warm on the back of the stove while completing the dish. If necessary, reheat over very low heat.
When the water is boiling, quickly drop all the gnocchi into the pot. Lightly stir the water with a wooden spoon to keep the gnocchi from sticking. After a few seconds, they will come to the surface of the water; let them cook for 1 minute longer. With a strainer, remove the gnocchi to the pan containing the sauce. Toss them briefly in the sauce to coat, and transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with the truffle.