Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mac and Cheese, Grown Up Style

As you can see from the picture, this isn't your average macaroni and cheese. It's freaking killer because it's made with gnocchi. The cheese sauce is surprisingly light, and the Parmigiano Reggiano on top is just icing on the cake (or...cheese on the pasta?!). This is the perfect side dish to any lean meat, or would be perfect on its own. Sitting under the covers on a cold Sunday... eating this while reading a book...I could rock that.

The cheeses that I used were Gruyere, Fontina and Parmigiano Reggiano. I have seen several recipes when looking for macaroni and cheese that use this blend, so I decided to try it. It's hard to believe that this isn't the heaviest thing ever. But somehow the gnocchi just end up tasting like light fluffy pillows just kissed with cheese sauce. The key is to not ladle too much cheese sauce in the tartlet pans. So when you bake it, it adheres to the gnocchi, but it doesn't look soupy. But really, too much cheese is never a problem in my book. So if you want it extra cheesy, GO NUTS!

Time from start to finish: About 40 minutes
1 packet Gnocchi
1/2 cup Gruyere Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Fontina Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmigano Reggiano, shredded
3/4 cup Milk*
1 tsp Nutmeg, freshly grated (or ground if that's what you have on hand)
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Flour
2 Tbsp Garlic, grated or minced
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

Put your salted water on to boil and preheat your oven to 400. In a saucepan, melt your butter over medium low heat. Once melted, add your garlic and let it cook for about 45 seconds, just so you start to smell it. Add your flour and whisk to create a roux. Stir in a the milk, dijon, salt, pepper. Slowly add the Gruyere and Fontina, a handful at a time. Stir until the cheese is completely melted before you add the next handful. Then add the grated nutmeg. Put your gnocchi in to cook before you've added the last of your cheese. It should only take 2-3 minutes to cook. Cook per package instructions, drain. Once all of your cheese is added and melted, it's finished. Split your gnocchi up into tartlet pans, or just put it all in one dish if you prefer. Add the cheese sauce and top with Parmigiano Reggiano. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the Parmigiano Reggiano is melted. Garnish with basil or parsley if you like! Enjoy!

Eat Well,

*I used 1% Milk. If you use a higher fat content milk, you might need to adjust your cheese sauce stirring time just slightly (same with if you use skim, it might take a little longer to thicken)

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