The summer, or at least a summerish weather, has arrived in Finland! Yay! Yesterday we had the warmest day so far, with 18 C and today the thermometer shows 19 C. Cloudy though, and they forecasted some storms. But who cares, it’s warm, it’s summer! Let’s get the bikinis out of the closets and have a bbq in a park! That actually is the thing foreigners living in Finland wonder. The first, even somewhat warm day and the locals go crazy. Everyone gets out of their caves on the streets, wearing small clothes, barbecuing and behaving like it was at least 30 C. But please forgive us, we only have warm days a couple of months, and the rest of the year we have to struggle with cold and snow, or at least the darkness!
Anyhow, this warm weather should encourage us also to eat light. On the contrary, it seems I’m cooking heavier than I probably should. The following dish was a request from my boyfriend (let’s call him S from now on, much easier and that’s the “nickname” I already gave him a couple of years ago in my other blog). He found the recipe of Noble Pig and I prepared it. I am crazy about cheese, and if you are as well, this is your dish. Basically it barely has anything else but cheese, eh. Anyway, it’s delicious! I have a slightly guilty conscious that I didn’t prepare the gnocchi myself this time, as it’s a super simple thing to do (recipe coming up, too). Nothing like making pasta, which I find slightly challenging.
So the gnocchi came ready-made from the market. Our near grocery store didn’t have Fontina, so I substituted it with a Swiss mild, Emmenthaler-like Alpine cheese. Talking about cheese, there’s a thing I wanna say about using Parmesan, or Parmigiano-Reggiano: NEVER use the readily grated ones that they sell in bags. That is not the real thing. I doubt that is even cheese. I came across this when I lived in Brazil, and using these products in cooking was normal there. No, no and no. Always grate your own from a beautiful chunk of real cheese, I promise you will not regret it.
But back to the recipe; I also modified the amounts of the original one just slightly, as sometimes the American cup-thinking is a bit difficult for me.
Say cheese & enjoy!
Gnocchi n’ Cheese
500g gnocchi (better self-made, I used store-bought this time)
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I had honey Dijon in my fridge and it suited fine in this, giving some sweetness to the otherwise so cheesy dish)
50g Fontina cheese, grated
50g Gruyère cheese, grated
50g Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
fresh herbs, to garnish (I added some thyme leaves in my cheese sauce and would recommend!)
Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan and boil the gnocchi according to the package instructions. Usually 1-2 minutes is enough. Drain and place the gnocchi in a single layer in an oiled, shallow oven-proof dish.
Heat the oven to 200 C.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in flour until it thickens and bubbles, then gradually whisk in milk and Dijon. Continue to whisk mixture and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Combine Gruyere and Fontina, then add by the handful to milk mixture, stirring until melted before adding the next handful. Once all cheese is melted, season sauce with salt and pepper. I added about half a teaspoon salt.
Pour sauce over gnocchi and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano over top. Bake gnocchi in the oven until cheese is golden and bubbly, about 20-25 minutes. Let gnocchi rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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