March 20, 2009
Snow on the ground: 1 meter/3.3 feet... Temperature: -8C/18F... welcome to spring in Quebec City! However, the good thing of the winter-like spring in this part of the world is that here you can still enjoy winter comfort food in spring time! Like my gnocchi alla bava. Gnocchi alla bava is a traditional recipe from Valle d’Aosta, one of my favorite regions in Italy. This recipe combines exquisitely fresh pasta, a very northern Italian thing, with fonduta or fondue, a very Alpine thing… and Valle d’Aosta is in northern Italy right in the Italian Alps! This is a very rich dish, I can’t think of something more ideal for après-ski! So, after spending your day skiing in, let’s say, Mont-Tremblant, prepare a good cup of hot chocolate and some gnocchi alla bava: it’s quick, it’s cheesy and it’s extremely comforting! And if you want to feel less guilty about it, do the same trick I did: use whole wheat gnocchi!
1 lb whole wheat potato gnocchi (storebought is fine)
7 oz Italian fontina cheese, diced
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp milk
4 Tbsp grana cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano)
1 garlic clove
Melt the butter in a saucepan, over medium heat. Add one garlic clove, peeled. Cook the gnocchi in salted boiling water, for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, take the garlic clove out of the saucepan and add the cheese and the milk. Stir to gently incorporate the cheese with the melted butter. When the gnocchi are ready, they’ll be floating on top of the boiling water. Drain the gnocchi, and toss them over the cheese fonduta. Add some grated grana cheese, give a quick little stir, and your gnocchi alla bava will be ready! If you want, add some ground black pepper and some sage leaves.
You can also find gnocchi alla bava in Piemonte.
I’m not sure if you want to know what 'alla bava' means. Let's say gnocchi alla bava is Italian for mouthwatering gnocchi (ok, the real meaning is drooling gnocchi).
Actually this year spring was welcomed with snowfalls in southern Italy: Reggio Calabria, Molise, Puglia… all covered with snow! So, what’s the difference? There everything will melt by tomorrow, and then nice weather will be there to stay all summer long!
Thick hot chocolate
Gnocchi à la cassonade