July 14th is National Macaroni & Cheese Day. We’ve got lots of great mac and cheese recipes below, but we’ll start out with a new one: Gnocchi Mac & Cheese.
Instead of using elbows, penne or other plain pasta, this recipe uses gnocchi, small dumplings stuffed with cheese, potato, pumpkin, spinach or other ingredients.
This recipe is courtesy Delallo Foods, where there are great cooks in the kitchen. They use their potato gnocchi (photo #2). We had both cheese and pumpkin gnocchi in the freezer, and the recipe is great with both (or any filling).
The recipe layers the cheesy flavors with three cheeses: Cheddar, Fontina and Parmesan.
We happened to have some Moliterno Black Truffle Pecorino, an Sardinian sheep’s milk cheese embedded with Italian black truffle. We substituted that for the Cheddar. Since truffled mac and cheese is our favorite recipe, it was, naturally, a big hit.
And before we get started, let’s thank Thomas Jefferson for mac and cheese. He brought pasta to America.
Here’s the history of mac and cheese.
Instead of baking the recipe in a square baking dish, you can bake it in 4-6 individual ramekins or mini skillets. If so, the cooking time may be quicker.
1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Spray a shallow 9″ x 9″ baking dish with nonstick spray. Arrange the cooked gnocchi in a single layer at the bottom of the dish.
2. MELT the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and cook until lightly golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in the flour until mixture thickens; then add the milk and sage. Continuing to whisk, cook the sauce until thickened, about 2 minutes.
3. ADD the shredded cheeses to the sauce. Stir until melted, then season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the layer of gnocchi. Top evenly with Parmesan and the breadcrumbs.
4. BAKE until bubbly, about 25 minutes. Allow the gnocchi to rest for 5 minutes before serving.