Ambitious recipe offers a breather

Try This At Home

January 21, 2007|By Dabney Gough | Dabney Gough,The San Francisco Chronicle

The best insurance policy on an ambitious meal boils down to two little words: make ahead.

A perfect example is Gnocchi with Roquefort Cream, from cookbook author and TV chef Joanne Weir, host of Joanne Weir's Cooking Class. The dish can be assembled and kept in the refrigerator for up to two days before baking.


Serves 8

1 2/3 cups milk

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

5 to 6 eggs

2 cups heavy cream

6 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer.

Bring the milk, butter and 3/4 teaspoon salt to a boil over medium heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, add the flour all at once. Reduce the heat to low, and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball and the edges of the pan look sandy. Remove the dough from the pan and place it in the bowl of a standard mixer. While still warm, with an electric mixer, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. The mixture should be very thick, like mashed potatoes, and no longer glossy.

Fit a large pastry bag with a 3/4 - to 1-inch plain round tip. Fill the pastry bag with dough. Into the simmering water, squeeze out 1-inch pieces of dough, cutting them with the back of a small knife. Do not overcrowd the pan. Simmer gnocchi slowly until they begin to puff slightly and are slightly firm, 5-10 minutes. Remove gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon, drain well and cool.

The gnocchi will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator at this stage. They can also be frozen. Make sure that they are at room temperature before proceeding to the next step.

Preheat the oven to 425. In a large saucepan, bring the cream, Roquefort to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and reduce by one-quarter until it thickens slightly, 5-10 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the Roquefort cream to the gnocchi and mix carefully. Place the gnocchi and sauce in a 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish. They will form a very full single layer. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and bake until the gnocchi puff and are golden brown, 10 minutes. If the gnocchi have not turned golden, run them under the broiler.

Serve immediately.

Per serving: 645 calories, 19 grams protein, 21 grams carbohydrate, 55 grams fat, 33 grams saturated fat, 297 milligrams cholesterol, 707 milligrams sodium, 0 fiber. Nutrition analysis supplied by The San Francisco Chronicle.

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