Gnocchi Mac and Cheese with Fried Morel
This recipe was originally posted on our other blog FourKidsandaChicken.com. If you like this one, please check us out over there too!
The Gnocchi Mac and Cheese with Fried Morel are fabulous for those cool spring days. While this isn’t a true mac and cheese (gnocchi is actually potato instead of a pasta), I don’t believe you will never go back to pasta after having gnocchi. It has a wonderful texture and density to it that is perfect for a mac and cheese recipe.
What are Morel Mushrooms?
Morels are a gourmet mushroom that grows wild in many parts of the country. We find them around Minnesota in April and May when the temperature rises above 50 degrees. They have a unique earthy, but delicate, flavor. The morel season is only a few weeks long. Field and Stream has a great beginners guide to finding morels. When it comes to mushrooms, don’t forget the rule: “If you aren’t sure it’s ok, throw it away.”
You will need the following ingredients:
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbsp parsley
- 2 boxes gnocchi
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2¼ cups whole milk
- ⅝ cup parmesan cheese (split in two)
- 1.5 cups swiss
- 1 cup white cheddar
Cooking the Gnocchi
You can buy gnocchi frozen, from the pasta aisle in your grocery store, or from Amazon here: Gnocchi
It is best al dente. Start by boiling a pot of water and pour in the gnocchi. After a couple of minutes, it will start to float to the surface. When it floats to the top, it is cooked.
Once you are satisfied that half or more of the gnocchi have floated to the top, strain them in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop it from cooking any further.
Making the Cheese:
While the gnocchi is cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan with the morels and garlic. This will pull out some of the flavors of the morels for the whole dish and will give the morels a nice texture.
When the butter is melted, add flour and whisk on low heat for a few minutes until it is combined. Don’t let it burn! But, do let it brown. Browned butter and flour creates an amazing taste.
Add the milk and stir over medium heat for five to ten minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. Then combine the white cheddar, swiss and half the parmesan cheeses. Reserve the other half of the parmesan for the crust. Stir continuously until all the cheese is melted and the mixture does not clump. Add the salt and white pepper as well.
Making the crust:
Combine parsley and the rest of the parmesan in a food processor. Once minced, it is ready and you can set it aside.
Making the Morel Gnocchi Mac and Cheese
Now that all the ingredients are made, it’s time to make the mac and cheese. Simply pour the gnocchi into the sauce, heat, and mix well.
When fully mixed, scoop out the mac and cheese into small cast iron pans (ramekins will do fine as well.) Sprinkle the crust set aside earlier on top of the mac and cheese and broil until the top is melted and browned. This will give the mac and cheese a crust on top of the rich gooey mac and cheese.