There is a certain incident about which we don't really speak around these parts. It involves a disasterous attempt to make cheese-based (instead of potato-based) gnocchi, an attempt that resulted in mushy, tasteless globs...and maybe a few tears (what? Mark takes his gnocchi very seriously. Just kidding, I was upset). In any event, I avoided non-potato gnocchi recipes like the plague...until tonight. When I saw this recipe from the New York Times, I had to try it. And I'm glad I did. While I think it would have tasted even better with regular potato gnocchi, these goat-cheese cushions turned out really well, and the caramelized onions simply make the dish sing.
- 1 lb creamy goat cheese
- 2 large eggs
- Fine sea salt
- 3/4 cups flour
- 3 tbsp regular butter
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- Pinch of sugar
- 2/3 cup chicken stock (you can use vegetable broth or mock chicken broth for a vegetarian option)
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 4 oz high-butterfat butter (Can you believe such a thing exists?! I used Plugra, as recommended.)
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Freshly ground black pepper
First, I let the goat cheese come to room temperature, then whisked it together with the eggs and a generous pinch of sea salt.
I then gradually kneaded in about 3/4 of a cup of flour, trying not to overknead (I wanted these bad boys fluffy, and nothing says dense gnocchi like overkneading). I made the dough into a ball, covered it in plastic wrap and stuck it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Next, I sliced up two onions super thin with my mandoline, and managed to keep all my fingers intact.
I melted 3 tbsp of regular butter in a pan, and tossed in the onions, making sure that everything got thoroughly coated.
I cooked the onions over medium low heat for about 40 minutes, tossing in a pinch each of salt, pepper and sugar, until they were nice and browned, and set them aside.
Back to the gnocchi! I put a pot of water on to boil. In the meantime, I rolled the dough in sections into thin ropes, and cut it into 1 inch pieces.
I rolled each piece on the back of a fork to make ridges and placed them on a lightly floured tray.
Once all the gnocchi was ready, I threw them into the boiling water in batches, waiting just about 3 minutes before scooping them out and throwing them into a bowl of ice water. Then I scooped them out of that bowl, and placed them off to the side for a moment. This process may sound weird to you - I know it sounded weird to me - but I think it might be important in order to prevent the mushiness of my prior, botched (horrific) attempt. I think the ice-water bath firms up the gnocchi...but that's just my theory.
I then poured about 2/3 of a cup of chicken stock into a pot, and added the thyme and the gnocchi. I brought it up to a gentle simmer over medium heat, and added the Plugra (the high-butterfat butter) in pieces.
Finally, I added in the spinach and the Parmigiano, stirred lightly and cooked just until the spinach had wilted a bit.
I plated the gnocchi with its rich, buttery sauce, and topped it off with the sweet, caramelized onion. Mark and I both really enjoyed this filling and luscious dish. While it was a little work intensive, it was worth the effort!