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For dinner on Christmas Eve, we sometimes eat sandwiches and sometimes eat shrimp; there’s no set, traditional dish.  Times may be a-changin’, based on this year’s unbelievable meal!  After looking through the holiday issue of Bon Appetit, I found a recipe that I thought R might like for our New Year’s Eve international buffet: gnocchi with gorgonzola.  I figured it would be good to give it a test run before making it for other folks, and so we planned to make it together for Christmas Eve dinner.  The only problem was that waiting to shop until evening on the 23rd meant that Trader Joe’s was out of gorgonzola or anything vaguely resembling it, so we decided to switch it up with Cotswold, a cheese we both love right now and fear is seasonal.  (The results indicate that you would have success with a variety of soft cheeses: anything bleu, gruyere, fontina, maybe even chevre.)

If you’ve never made gnocchi, you should probably do it today, maybe tomorrow, because it is fun.  (I kept thinking that next time I see my 4-year goddaughter and her sister, we could have a pretty good time playing with potato in the kitchen.)  This meal is rich enough that it won’t go into the monthly rotation, but special enough that it will definitely show up on a holiday table again.  The gnocchi were tender and the sauce was so good.  SO good.  Just looking at the picture is making me crave it a little today: soft potato dumplings, creamy and smooth sauce, with toasted, melty cheese bits and just enough crunch from the breadcrumbs.  Call it your last indulgence of the year and make some soon– I promise you won’t regret it.

Baked Gnocchi with Cotswold (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1/2 lb. russet potatoes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5 T. parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 c. flour plus more to dust your rolling surface
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 c. cream
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary
  • 1 1/2″ piece of ginger, peeled
  • 2 T. softened butter
  • 3 T. breadcrumbs
  • 2 oz. Cotswold, crumbled

Place potatoes in a large pot. Add water to cover by 1”; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until tender, 25–30 minutes. Drain; set aside and let cool slightly. Peel potatoes; pass through ricer or a food mill or sieve, into a large bowl.  In a pinch, you could even grate the cooked potatoes, but don’t whip them– you’ll create glue.

Whisk egg yolks; add with 2 T. parmesan, flour, salt and nutmeg to potatoes. Using your hands, gently mix to form a soft but not sticky dough. Transfer dough to a floured surface; gather into a ball, then divide into two pieces.  Working with one piece at a time, roll dough into a 24”-long rope. Cut crosswise into 1” pieces. Working with one piece at a time, press lightly on gnocchi with the back of the tines of a floured fork and gently roll to create ridges on one side.  Set aside.

Bring cream, rosemary, and ginger to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat; cover and let steep for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches of about 12 at a time, cook gnocchi until they float to the surface, 2–3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a baking dish coated with 1 T. butter.

Mix 3 T. parmesan, remaining 1 T. butter and breadcrumbs in a small bowl.  Remove rosemary and ginger from the reserved cream mixture and discard; pour cream over gnocchi.  Scatter Cotswold over the top; sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture.  Bake until the filling is bubbling and the topping is browned, 25–30 minutes.

This makes a very generous 2 servings, 4 regular portions.  Enjoy!