Some dishes are more than the sum of their parts. Case in point: recipe developer Erin McDowell’s buckwheat gnocchi with cabbage, potatoes and fontina. It might not sound like much on paper, but believe us when we say we want to eat it every day until winter is over.
“This is based on a traditional northern Italian dish made with buckwheat pasta,” McDowell explains, “but it’s hard to find that pasta in the states, so we made our own using a variation on ricotta gnocchi.”
McDowell assures us that it’s “very easy to make, and it makes you feel great because now you’ve made homemade pasta.” Plus, as she says, “it’s a fabulous dish because all the other ingredients get boiled in the same pot together, then you sauté everything with lots of butter, garlic and fontina cheese.”
“It’s a really hearty, wintry dish,” McDowell concludes, “and it’s one of those meals where it sounds good…but it tastes even better.”
1½ cups ricotta cheese
⅓ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1¼ cups buckwheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Semolina or cornmeal, as needed
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and diced into bite-size pieces
12 ounces cabbage, roughly shredded
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1½ cups grated fontina cheese
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh chives, as needed for serving
1. Make the Gnocchi: In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta, Parmesan and eggs to combine. Add the buckwheat and all-purpose flours, and stir to combine. Add the salt, pepper and a few gratings of nutmeg. The dough should come together uniformly and be pretty smooth. If it feels sticky, add more all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it comes together.
2. Sprinkle a layer of semolina or cornmeal onto a baking sheet and lightly flour your work surface. Working with about a third of the dough at a time, roll it into a long rope about 1 inch in diameter. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces. Transfer the gnocchi to the prepared baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining dough. Sprinkle the gnocchi with a little more semolina or cornmeal, and set aside.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cabbage, and cook until the potatoes are just barely fork tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the gnocchi and cook until they float to the surface and are tender, about 4 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water; drain the rest.
4. Finish the Dish: In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the drained potatoes, cabbage and pasta and cook, tossing occasionally until everything is well combined and coated in butter. Add the fontina and Parmesan and toss until the cheese is melted, then stir in the pasta water. Continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until the mixture is uniformly creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, garnished with chives.
Note: If you can’t find fontina cheese, Swiss, Gruyère or Emmental would all be great substitutes.