Last week, Ihsan shared with us a few memories from one of his early cheese sourcing trips – a 1993 trip to the Castelmagno region of Italy. In that post, he described one of his revelatory food experiences: Gnocchi al Castelmagno. Since that trip, he has been working on recreating the dish at home. Here is the current permutation of that recipe, one he says gets pretty close to that amazing, first taste!
Gnocchi al Castelmagno
Serves: 2 people
1lb fingerling or Yukon potatoes
7- 8 oz Castelmagno, grated
5oz Arneis or Gavi di Gavi white wine from Piedmont (substitute dry white)
10 oz Mulino Marino flour (0 or 00) or any all-purpose white flour
2 oz butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
To make the gnocchi:
Wash, boil and peel the potatoes until tender. Mash them thoroughly or pass them through a ricer – you do not want any lumps left. Let cool. Combine the mashed potatoes with the flour. Knead on a floured surface just until you achieve a soft/silky texture – don’t overdo it or your gnocchi will be tough.
Cover the dough with a clean, slightly damp towel (so the dough doesn’t dry out). Clean your work surface of any dough bits and reflour. Pull off a piece of dough about the size of a tennis ball (re-covering the remainder of the dough) and roll out into the shape of a cylinder about ¾-inches in diameter. Using a bench scraper or a knife, cut the cylinder at ¾-inch intervals. Place gnocchi on parchment paper – don’t allow them to touch. Repeat until you run out of dough.
Put a pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a gentle boil. Drop in the gnocchi in small batches and cook until they float.
For the sauce:
Combine the cheese, butter and wine and simmer for 5 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Finally – mix everything together while hot for a taste of northern Italy!
Note: Before you cook the gnocchi, prepare the sauce so everything is ready to be combined immediately after the gnocchi are cooked.