Castelmagno Gnocchi

September 29, 2015

Castelmagno is a typical Occitan cheese, produced in the municipalities of Castelmagno, Pradleves and Monterosso Grana located in Val Grana in the province of Cuneo. This cheese is used for numerous traditional Piedmont dishes and today we’re suggeting how to prepare gnocchi with Castelmagno.

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 600 gr of white potatoes
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 200 gr wheat flour
  • 100 gr of castelmagno cheese
  • butter
  • 50 gr of cream
  • salt and peppper

Preparing the gnocchi

Wash the potatoes and boil them, including the peel, in salted water for about 20-30 minutes. Peel when still hot. If you’re still trying to figure out how to do it without getting burnt, I recommend watching this video: it works!

Put a little flour on a pastry board and mash the potatoes. Wait for them to cool off completely before continuing.

When cool, add a pinch of salt, the egg and sprinkle with flour. Knead until the mixture is smooth, lump-free and non-sticky.

Now divide the dough and, once again on the floured surface, stretch the pieces so as to form round sticks roughly 1.5-2 cm. Cut the gnocchi, about 2 cm in size, and place them on the pastry board or on a floured tray, to prevent them from sticking. If you want, you can put grooves in them with use a gnocchi groover.

Finally, cook in boiling water with a little olive oil, until they come to the surface: now scoop them out with a slotted spoon.

Preparing the suace

Melt a knob of butter in a small saucepan, over low heat. Then add the diced Castelmagno and stir. Add the cream and continue stirring until you get a smooth cream.

Add a little pepper, cover the gnocchi with the sauce and serve hot. Bon appétit!

Worth knowing

When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to prepare potato gnocchi on the spot, before lunch, as I watched impatiently, waiting for the moment when she would use the gnocchi board to put grooves in the gnocchi. Instead of the cutting board, we used forks.

For me it was a game: placing the gnocchi on the back of the fork, I would put a groove in each one and then toss them into the tray. Mine could be recognized at a distance; they were twisted and deformed, but they were always delicious because she had made them.

Today I find myself continuously struggling to prepare them on the spot, so I found a way to preserve them. I usually prepare twice the amount needed and, after lunch, I boil the remaining amount and take them out of the water just before they come up to the surface. I then place them on a clean towel, so that they don’t touch each other, and let them cool down.

At this point I place them on a paper tray, apart from each other, and put them in the freezer. The next day I place them frozen in a bag. Once frozen separately they no longer stick to one another. To cook them you just need to boil them quickly in salted water.

Suggestions when buying the ingredients

The choice of ingredients is essential and to know which ones are the best will help you choose with greater awareness.

Buying a piece of quality Castelmagno is critical to the success of the dishes. According to our tastes, we prefer Castelmagno that is more or less seasoned, for example we choose the fresh mountain pasture cheese, a Slow Food Presidium. Beware of “fresh supermarket products “, because the minimum aging period is 60 days.

It is customary to use slightly old white potatoes when making the gnocchi because they are more floury. Early, or new potatoes, should always be excluded because they contain a considerable amountof water, which requires a greater use of flour. This will make the dough sticky and the gnocchi hard.

As for wheat flour you can choose whichever one you prefer between 00, 0, 1 and whole-wheat. Personally I prefer whole-wheat flour. The gnocchi will be darker. As far as the dosing is concerned you need to decide the mixture on the spot: according to the flour and depending on potato’s ability to absorb water, you need to increase or decrease the dose.

The egg is optional and helps to hold together the dough, but it’s not necessary. The choice is up to you.

Variation: Replace half the amount of wheat flour with chestnut flour for a more autumnal dish; chestnut gnocchi with Castelmagno.