If there is one food my husband loves it is gnocchi -- a small dense Italian pasta dumpling traditionally made with either potato, ricotta, or semolina. Gnocchi have been a traditional Italian pasta of probably Middle Eastern origin since early Roman times, although the use of potato is a relatively recent innovation, occurring after the introduction of the potato to Europe in the 16th century.
When Bertolli asked me if I'd like to try one of their special sauces to prepare their recipe of baked Gnocchi with Two Cheese and Walnuts I was more than happy to oblige! They sent me a kit which included a cavatelli maker, and gnocchi board, a coupon for their Olive Oil and Garlic Sauce and a La Creuset Au Gratin dish, and this recipe. No other compensation was provided and my opinion about this recipe is my own. As you can see from my photo of the completed dish, the results were fantastic!
BAKED GNOCCHI WITH TWO CHEESES AND WALNUTS
prep time: 10 minute(s)
cook time: 20 minute(s)
1 jar Bertolli Olive Oil and Garlic Sauce
1 lb. fresh or frozen gnocchi, prepared according to package directions
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (about 6 oz.)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
•Preheat oven to 425°.
•Combine Sauce, cooked gnocchi, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon basil in 2-quart casserole. Top with remaining cheeses, walnuts and bread crumbs.
•Bake uncovered 12 minutes or until bubbling. Sprinkle with remaining basil.
I made fresh potato gnocchi using this recipe:
6 cups flour
2 tablespoons shortening or oil
3 boiled potatoes
1 egg (optional)
In a bowl mash boiled potatoes or rice with a potato ricer. Add melted shortening or oil and egg.
On a board or mat sift the flour. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the mashed potato mixture. Slowly mix the potato mixture and flour with your hands until well blended and it forms a ball. Flour the surface and begin to knead until the dough begins to become soft and smooth. Cut dough in half and allow to "rest" under a damp towel for about 10 minutes.
If using a cavatelli machine roll out each half of the dough to a thickness of about 3/8 inches and cut into strips about 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide. Flour each strip and insert one end into wooden rollers of the catavelli maker and turn the handle.
Gnocchi are traditionally made by hand by rolling the dough into ropes which are then cut into "pillows" and then each pillow is rolled onto board to make ridges. You can see how I do this by clicking here to see my Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi recipe
As you can see from the photo above this recipe makes a large amount of cavatelli -- enough for three servings! I was able to freeze two servings for another time by spreading the cavatelli on a baking sheet and freezing them until hard and then placing the frozen cavatelli in freezer bags.
The baked gnocchi were absolutely delicious! The sauce was flavorful and had just enough garlic to blend well with the two cheeses and fresh basil to make this dish very aromatic. I never thought to incorporate walnuts in a baked pasta dish, and I found them to add a wonderful crunch, along with the bread crumb topping. My husband gave this two thumbs up and we were very happy to eat the leftovers the next day!
Bertolli recommends that this dish is accompanied by a rich Barbera wine, as you can see in the film clip above from their special event about pasta and wine pairing.
Now for the give away! Bertolli has graciously offered to give the same set that they sent to me to a USA resident, to be shipped from their offices. The set will include a coupon for a free sauce product, a cavatelli maker, a cheese grater, and gnocchi board and a La Crueset Gratin Dish. All you have to do leave a comment and make sure you leave a way to contact you if you do not have a blog. Sorry, but this is for USA residents only. If you would like to become a follower of my blog (not required) I would be thrilled to have your interest and friendship! If you are a facebook user, please check out the Bertolli Tastes of Italy map and add a tip, story recipe or photo from your favorite region of Italy, and join in all the fun! The winner of the give away will be chosen by me through the use of Random.org on Monday, September 5th, 2011. Good luck!
I'm linking to Foodie Friday on the Designs by Gollum blog and Mosaic Monday on the Little Red House blog. Thank you to both wonderful blog hosts--please visit them and see all the wonderful entries!
Edited 8/28/12: Thankfully my house and neighborhood survived Hurricane Irene! Thank you for you concern, and prayers. I am thinking and praying for all those who were affected by this severe storm.
edited 9/5/11 9PM EST: Comments now closed --winner chosen, and to be announced soon! Thank you to all who entered the give away. I enjoyed reading all your comments!