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In the second recipe, we're free styling a bit more. It's more of a rich, dairy-heavy, Northern Italian inspired take on gnocchi with butter, cream, and cheese. As wide, varied, and hyper-regional as Italian cooking is, a common theme can be found: choose the best ingredients you can and then GET OUT OF THEIR WAY. We decided that the garlicky, herby, creaminess of our Creamy Herb & Jalapeño Hot Sauce would make an excellent base for a creamy sauce for our gnocchi. We love both of these easy, Italian inspired gnocchi dishes, and we think you will too.
Boil your gnocchi in well salted water. At first glance, there seems to be a ton of salt in these recipes, but look closer and you'll see that most of the salt ends up in the pasta water...of which you should be sure to reserve about a 1/2 cup in order to add to your pasta sauce. The residual starch in the pasta water will thicken your sauce, a help it cling better to the pasta itself.
We got a lot of questions, (and a little controversy) regarding toasting the pasta. The pasta should be cooked such that there is a bit of springiness, but that it is not overly soft of mushy. This texture will allow it to toast well in the skillet without getting stuck. This toasting effect adds a gorgeous texture and nuttiness to the final product.
Why do we say to add fresh grated parmesan? The pre-grated or pre-shredded stuff usually has an anti-caking agent in it that keeps it from, clumping in the container, but it also means that the cheese won't meld into the sauce when it melts. Don't be afraid to go add plenty, this is supposed to be a relatively rich dish! We loved these two different approaches to our favorite pasta, and we're sure you will too.