This post is a carefully selected sponsored post, in partnership with Galbani. I went to Galbani HQ to cook fonduta with Joe Hurd, a very talented Anglo-Italian chef (see video below for recipe). They also tasked me with coming with a recipe of my own, using one of their products. I chose dolcelatte, a gentle blue cheese created by Galbani, and a cheese that I love to nibble on.
Gnocchi drive the fear into most home cooks. I know, I have been there. Afraid of over working the dough and making them heavy, most people don’t work the dough enough (and it is a dough) and end up with something fluffy and despairing. I have been there too. What I realised, is that you need to show the gnocchi who is boss, while retaining a lightness of touch. Great cooking is all about taking control whilst retaining attention to detail. Lightness of touch, taking your time (when you can) and small details like fine chopping give best results. Of course, Italians will tell you too that cooking with love and care is all you really need, but love and care means cooking with tenderness and attention to detail so it all makes sense really.
I love gnocchi, so I made it my mission to figure these out. Both classic potato gnocchi and pumpkin gnocchi (you can find a recipe for these in Comfort & Spice), and sweet potato gnocchi too. Sweet potatoes work so well here, very soft and easy to work with, there is no need to put the sweet potatoes through a mouli or potato ricer, all you need to do is cool them down a little, and then mix in the flour, salt and nutmeg, kneading it in until fully incorporated and forming a dough. As the sweet potatoes are quite wet compared to normal white potatoes, I use semolina flour (specifically that used for pasta, semola di grano duro) to make the gnocchi. This is a little coarser than normal 00 pasta flour, and does a better job of forming a dough which still has a lovely sweet potato flavour.
When I first made these, I simply boiled them and finished them in the sauce, as is normal for gnocchi, but then I tried gnocchi al forno (gnocchi cooked in the oven) The blue cheese sauce reduced beautifully, the gnocchi crisped just a touch and the kale loved it. And who I am to deprive some kale of some oven action. You all know how much I love oven crisped kale chips.
For the blue cheese sauce, I used dolcelatte, a creamy blue cheese from Galbani. The dolcelatte goes so well with the kale and the sweet potato, like an autumnal holy trinity. This is rich but it is Autumn. Give yourself a break and enjoy some indulgent gnocchi.
Note on the recipe: the sweet potato gnocchi dough is delicate but don’t be afraid to show it who is boss. Allowing it to rest before making the gnocchi and before you boil it helps it hold its shape and results in a better texture.
I also cooked a fonduta recipe with Joe Hurd – a very easy and delicious Italian take on fondue. Details in the video!
Recipe: Baked Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Dolcelatte and Kale
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
250g roasted sweet potato flesh (approx 2 reasonably sized sweet potatoes, peeled weight)
125g semola di gran duro (a type of pasta flour – easy to source in Italian delis or online)
nutmeg, freshly grated
a little butter, diced
Dolcelatte and Kale Sauce
250g single cream
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
a generous handful of kale, torn from the stem and roughly chopped
2 individual roasting dishes, about 6-8 inches long, lightly buttered or one larger one
Roast your sweet potatoes by pricking a fork in them and then putting them in a lightly oiled tray. Roast for approximately an hour until soft the whole way through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before peeling.
Mash the sweet potatoes and add a generous sprinkle of sea salt, a grating of fresh nutmeg and the flour. Mix until well combined and knead lightly for just a minute or so. Cover the bowl with cling film or a damp tea towel and leave to rest for half an hour.
Dust a wooden chopping board (or similar) with some further semola di grano duro and roll into a log that is no more than an inch wide. Cut into small segments, less than an inch, and using a floured gnocchi paddle or fork, roll gently over the ridges, shaping the gnocchi with your thumb as you do. When you have shaped all of the gnocchi, cover with cling film or a tea towel for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 200 deg C. Boil some salted water and add the gnocchi in batches, removing with a slotted spoon a minute after they rise to the surface. Leave in a bowl to the side with a little butter to keep them separate as you cook the rest.
Sauté the garlic in a little butter or oil for a minute over a medium heat, then add the cream, dolcelatte and kale. Season to taste with sea salt. When the cheese is melted and the kale is softening take off the heat and divide between the roasting dishes (or add to one dish) and finish with the kale and dolcelatte sauce. Stir gently so that some of the gnocchi is on top.
Roast for 20 minutes and serve immediately.