I have put off making gnocchi at home for too long. I’ve had incredible gnocchi — light, airy and softly coated in sauce, but I’ve been too intimidated to try it myself. It’s like pie dough or hollandaise where the fear surrounding toughness and breaking can keep me from trying. I’ve mastered pie dough and learned the fail-safe blender method for hollandaise and yet gnocchi continued to elude me. Afraid to fail, I put off waiting for someone to teach me how the dough should look and feel, which I find is the best way to learn something new and intimidating — by watching.
This is why I jumped at the chance to take the How to Make Gnocchi Like a Pro with chef Gerri Sarnataro. I haven’t quite finished the course but I’ve already learned about the right tools, ingredients and most importantly the proper texture of the dough in order to get light and fluffy gnocchi.
In the course, Gerri includes a recipe for butternut squash gnocchi. She serves hers with a tempting brown butter sauce, but with kale in the fridge needing to be used, I decided to turn my tender, orange dumplings into a gratin with cream and showers of Gruyère cheese.
How to make butternut squash gnocchi gratin with kale and Gruyère
Serves 4 – 6
- Butternut squash gnocchi
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 bunch kale, trimmed and cut into 1-inch ribbons
- 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta
- 1 cup grated Gruyère
Cook gnocchi in a 5-quart pot of boiling, heavily salted water until the gnocchi floats to the surface. Drain well.
Whisk together cream, flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, then bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking.
Add kale and cook until bright green, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in gnocchi. Spoon ricotta over gnocchi in large dollops and cover with Gruyère.
Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat until cheese is browned and bubbling in spots, about 4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Finish with freshly grated Parmesan.