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Baked Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and Spinach

January 3, 2011

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Now I know you’re all thinking about diets, detox and exercise. So am I. Let me lead you astray for a moment though as I reminisce about this baked gnocchi I made for my boyfriend’s birthday. We’d started with a venison carpaccio to keep space inside for this baked behemoth – home made gnocchi crisped on top and creamy down under, oozing wads of Gorgonzola.

I’d not made gnocchi at home before and I was startled at the difference; they were very light compared to shop-bought. I was careful not to add too much flour to the mixture because that makes them tough, apparently. Then again, too much potato and they may fall apart during cooking. Many recipes stated so many different ratios of potato to flour that in the end I threw up my arms, huffed and stomped. Then I remembered that bible of Italian cooking, The Silver Spoon. Their recipe suggested 1kg  potato to 200g  flour which of course worked an absolute treat.

Baking gnocchi is a bit like frying or baking pasta, adding another texture on top. I used a creamy rather than piccante Gorgonzola as I wanted it nice and gooey; the cheese basically forms the sauce along with a splash of double cream for good measure. The spinach worked well although you could use chard, cavolo nero or other greens instead. A sharp, lemon dressed salad on the side will balance the richness. In your face, detox!

Baked gnocchi with Gorgonzola and spinach

For the gnocchi

1kg potatoes
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt

Steam the potatoes for about 25 minutes, or until tender. Mash with a potato ricer or beat with an electric whisk (as I did) until perfectly smooth. Stir in the flour, egg and a pinch of salt and knead to a soft, elastic dough. Shape the dough into long sausages about 1.5cm in diameter. Cut into 2cm lengths. Press each gnocchi with a fork or the underside of a grater and set aside on a tea towel dusted with flour in a single layer.

Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil and cook the gnocchi, a few at a time, until they rise to the top. Remove them and drain.

For the sauce

Gorgonzola (as much as you dare, I wasn’t really in a measuring mood. Probably used about 250g).
Double cream (again, wasn’t measuring. Look, there’s no way this can go wrong so don’t worry too much about quantities. Probably about 100ml).
Spinach, 200g (ha! I knew that one)
A little Parmesan for the top
White pepper, black pepper and salt

Preheat your oven to 180C

Wash your spinach and then, without drying it, put it into a saucepan on a low heat. Put a lid on. Let it wilt then drain it well and squeeze to rid it of some moisture (if you use more cabbage-like greens such as chard or cavolo nero you’ll need to cook them in boiling water). Put your cooked gnocchi into a baking dish, break up your cheese and spread it about; do the same with the spinach then pour over your cream. Season with white pepper, salt and black pepper. I think the two types of pepper makes a difference but you could leave one out. Grate over a little Parmesan and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.

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17 Comments

  • Reply shayma January 3, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    happy new year, H! what’s this about a diet? gorgeous dish- x shayma

  • Helen
    Reply Helen January 3, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Happy New year to you too Shayma. The diet has had to happen I’m afraid. Tis a sad day.

  • Reply Vanessa Kimbell January 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Oh I am just so inspired looking at this ! !

  • Reply Clare January 3, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    My half-hearted aspirations to detox went straight out the window as soon as I saw those photos! Looks seriously yummy.

  • Reply Gin and Crumpets January 3, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Your boyfriend is a very lucky man. Those gnocchi look utterly fantastic. And the finished dish contains spinach. Ergo, it is healthy. New Year detox win.

  • Reply Liana @ femme fraiche January 3, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    oh deaaaaaar lord. that is unreal. gnocchi makes my heart skip a beat, or six…and baked? with gorgonzola? can I come over next time?

  • Reply Jonathan January 3, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Happy New Year. This looks awesome. Very interested to read the 5:1 potato to flour ratio.

  • Reply msmarmitelover January 4, 2011 at 3:01 am

    I’ve made ricotta gnocci successfully but I once followed Delia’s recipe for potato gnocci, like little stones they were, big failure. So yes your ratios are of interest, will have a go.

  • Reply An American in London January 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    This looks and sounds perfect for the current weather. I’ve not used my Silver Spoon cookbook very often, but it’s great to know the SS’s gnocchi recipe is a winner. I’ll be sure to use that one, at least. Happy new year!

  • Reply Tori @ eat-tori January 4, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Diet? Pah. Not when there’s gnocchi to be had. This looks divine. And besides, there’s green in there! Happy new year…

  • Reply Dominic January 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I simply love your photography Helen, it’s totally food porn! (your recipes are none to bad either) and I have to say your Christmas sandwich totally put’s mine to shame! Happy New Year, Dom xx

  • Reply Lizzie January 4, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    As soon as I saw this I made it, with Stilton and creme fraiche instead. It was effing GREAT. I ate the whole thing myself (in two batches, I hasten to add…). Love that slightly crunchy crust.

  • Reply Fiona Beckett January 4, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Mmmmmmmm. That’s all.

  • Reply Tv Food and Drink January 5, 2011 at 12:27 am

    Well, we can all start re-taping up the boxes with our skinny jeans in them. Thanks for the delicious post!

  • Reply Leila January 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    oooh… those photos look gooood. Stuff the diet, I need a good layer of fat to keep me warm in this January chill!

  • Reply Kavey January 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    *dribble*

  • Reply Sasha @ The Happiness Project London January 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Oh man, this looks quite incredible. I just love gnochi and gorgonzola & spinach are my favourite pasta topping so this would be perfecto. Lucky boy of yours, missy! x

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