Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cheesy Gnocchi Gratin


Here is an easy and delicious use for the Bechamel sauce I just shared with you. Store bought gnocchi is cooked in boiling water, drained, placed on a buttered baking sheet, covered with plenty of Bechamel, and finally topped with lots of good quality Parmesan cheese before its gratinated under a hot broiler until the white sauce is bubbling and the cheese is golden brown! Need to say more?


Cheesy Gnocchi Gratin

Start by making the Bechamel sauce:

Bechamel Sauce

Ingredients:

3 cups of milk
1/2 of a yellow onion
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of grounded white pepper
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg


Place milk, onion, and bay leaf in a pot and bring it to a simmer.

Meanwhile heat a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add butter and flour to the pan and stir it around until the mixture is a deep golden color. Turn down the heat to medium-low and slowly add the simmering milk (discard onion and bay leaf) into the flour and butter mixture whisking it constantly to avoid big lumps to form. You should have a smooth, creamy sauce. Finally add salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Continue to cook it for another 6 minutes so all the flavors can combine. Turn off the heat.

Finalizing the Gnocchi Gratin:

Ingredients
It can serve from 2 to 4 people depending on how hungry you are, or on how it is served: main or side dish, or appetizer.

1 pound of gnocchi
Bechamel sauce
3/4 cup of shredded or grated good quality Parmesan cheese
1 clove of garlic
butter for greasing the baking sheet

Preparation
First, peel the garlic and cut it in half. Rub the flat side of the garlic all over the baking sheet (that will add a subtle garlic taste to the gnocchi). Now grease the baking sheet generously with butter.

After cooking the gnocchi according the instructions on the package, add it to the baking sheet. Cover the gnocchi with lots of Bechamel sauce, distribute the Parmesan evenly over the sauce and place it under your broiler (the dish should be very close to the heat element). The gnocchi will be ready when a golden brown crust forms on its surface. Serve immediately.

TIP: I like making individual portions of this dish. Follow the same instructions but gratin them on small individual oven proof dishes.


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