Soft, pillowy, cloud-like gnocchi that dissolve in your mouth? This Italian recipe will have you writing back to your Nonna asking her why she never cooked this for you. Parmesan is incorporated into this dish in four-ways: reduced into a rind broth, cooked into gnocchi, crisped into flakes, and just plain shaved on top. —BE at home
Test Kitchen Notes
I'll admit I was a bit nervous this dish would be a bit too salty, but I need not have worried. The homemade brodo makes the dish, giving the gnocchi amazing flavor while keeping the dumplings light and moist. The chef used clear language and following the steps was a breeze. Do not skip making the Parmesan crisps. The crunchy texture was a great contrast to the soft pasta. —Kimberly | figandsprout
Combine 7 cups water and Parmesan rinds and garlic clove in a medium-sized sauce pot. Bring water to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Pour broth into a bowl and set aside, discard leftover rinds and garlic.
In a medium sauce pot, add bacon with olive oil over high heat.
Once the bacon starts to brown (3 to 5 minutes), add butter and shallot and stir.
Reduce heat to medium and cook until shallots become translucent.
Add 1 1/2 cups of Parmesan broth and 1/2 tablespoon salt into the sauce pot and reduce to simmer (this should simmer for no more than 20 to 30 minutes before adding to finished gnocchi).
For the Potato Parmesan Gnocchi:
In a large pot, add enough water to cover the potatoes. Salt generously and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until fork-tender. Drain potatoes and rinse with cold water. Let potatoes sit for a few minutes, then skin and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Mash potatoes until smooth. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Refill the large pot with water and 1 tablespoon salt and cover over high heat until boiling (this will be used later to cook the prepared gnocchi)
While waiting for potatoes to cool, make Parmesan crisps by placing 4 small piles of parmesan cheese on a greased baking sheet and cooking under a broiler for a few minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside for later (loosen from baking sheet with a spatula immediately after cooking to prevent sticking).
Lightly beat one egg and mix into mashed potatoes.
Add 1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt and 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese to potato mixture.
Add 2 cups flour to potatos and mix by hand until the flour is fully incorporated. Add more flour if dough still feels crumbly.
On a large, clean surface, liberally sprinkle additional flour. By hand, take a ball of the dough (about the size of a softball), gently press together, and place on floured surface
Roll out ball by hand into a log (I've found this works best by starting in the center and spreading the fingers out wide, gently pushing dough outward to elongate the log, while rolling hands front and back). Repeat until all dough is rolled out into consistently shaped logs (logs should be approximately 3/4-inch in diameter), adding more flour to the surface as needed.
With a knife or dough-scraper, cut logs every 3/4-inch to form gnocchi. After all logs are cut, sprinkle them with some flour and gently move the gnocchi into a pile to help prevent them from sticking to counter surface.
Add half the gnocchi to boiling water, and cook until all gnocchi are floating (this will happen quickly). Repeat for the remaining half of the gnocchi. Immediately remove cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon, strain and transfer directly to serving plates. With a large sauce spoon, spoon brodo over the cooked gnocchi (enough so that the bottom of the dish is fully covered in brodo).
Garnish with fresh chopped sage, and top with Parmesan crisps and, of course, a little fresh shaved Parmesan!
Finish with a very light drizzle of white truffle oil, if desired, and serve immediately with a glass of good Italian red wine and enjoy!