Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You Don't Know Me and My Gnocchi

It is funny how many people that I interact with on an almost daily basis have commented that they didn't feel that they really knew me until they read my blog. I guess you could say that I am a bit socially reclusive. I am, believe it or not, shy. Once I get to know you and feel comfortable, all bets are off, but until I break through that barrier of fear, in person I probably seem a little stand-off-ish.

Online, it seems I am different. I let my hair down and my quirks are all visible. I have been lectured by many about the dangers of sharing too much. I have even been victim of some not so kind harassment because of my over-sharing. At times, I have thought about backing off and being more reserved with what I blab about online, but in the end, I like being who I am. If others don't like it, that is their problem. I know who I am, do you?

Whether you know me, or not, and whether you even want to know me, or not, you should really know the gnocchi I whipped up today. I started with a Rachael Ray recipe, but quickly discovered that I didn't have all of the ingredients. If you know me, you aren't surprised that it didn't stop me. I just adjusted by making some substitutions for what I did have. What good is a well-stocked fridge and pantry, if you can't use what you have?

Cheesy Gnocchi and Leeks with Crispy Prosciutto is the kind of gooey, cozy, comfort food that I love. I previously used the term "grown-up mac and cheese" when I described Tortellini with Corn and Bacon, and you can add this to that list. Feel free to use whatever cheese rocks your boat. The original recipe called for Fontina and Asiago, but I had neither. I did have Dimock Dairy's Smoked Cheddar, and O.M.G. YUM. It melted into a rich and savory sauce that coated the gnocchi and leeks in creamy heaven. The crisped prosciutto on top is just that little bit of crunch that a dense dish needs and complements the smokey cheese perfectly. Know me, or not, you need to know Cheesy Gnocchi and Leeks with Crispy Prosciutto On My Plate.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 thin slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise (making strips like bacon)
3 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch slices (be sure to rinse the grit)
kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper
1 12-ounce package potato gnocchi (I used mini gnocchi, just because that is what I had.)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
1 cup smoked cheddar cheese, grated
2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Working in batches if necessary, add the prosciutto in a single layer and cook, turning once, until crisp.
Drain on paper towels.
Wipe out the skillet, to remove any burned on bits. (This may not be necessary, but I got my oil too hot while cooking the prosciutto, and didn't want to discolor my leeks as they cooked in the smokey oil.)
Add the other tablespoon of olive oil and heat.
Add the leeks to the skillet and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the gnocchi and cook until they float to the surface, about 2-3 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
Whisk in the milk; season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. (Don't drop the whole nutmeg into the sauce, like I did. Oops.)
Cook about 5 minutes, until thickened.
Stir in the grated cheese.
Preheat the broiler.
Drain the gnocchi and combine with the leeks and cheese sauce.
Pour into a buttered casserole dish and top with the grated Parmesan.
Broil casserole until bubbly, about 3-4 minutes.
Top with crumbled prosciutto. (Serves 2-4 with a salad and garlic bread on the side)

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