A fun, kid-friendly, gluten-free dinner
My latest obsession is gnocchi.
Pronunciation lesson to avoid future embarrassment: Nyawk-kee is the correct, authentic, Italian pronunciation, but the English pronunciation is nok-ee. And we can get away with that, I guess. But I’ve mistakenly been pronouncing it no-chee for a loooong time, which is apparently not at all a pronunciation option and totally wrong. And, yes, this expert advice came from 2.4 seconds of google searching. And now we all know how to say it right – yay!
Gnocchi (trying so hard to read it nyawk-kee in my head right now) are like little puffs of potato – seriously, potatoes are so stinking versatile – they’re amazing! These little guys cook just like pasta, in a pot of boiling water. Then, you can mix them with lots of different types of sauces or throw them in a soup. They’re soft, pillow-y, and are somehow 76 times more fun than plain old pasta.
In this case, we’re going to mix our gnocchi with a creamy, rich three-cheese sauce.
The base of this sauce is made with a little pat of butter, broth, milk, and a thickener. You can use whatever thickener suits your dietary needs. You can use all-purpose flour. If you’re gluten-free, you can use cornstarch or a GF flour like oat flour. After we cook the base for a bit, we will stir in three amazing cheeses: fontina, sharp cheddar, and parmesan. This trifecta of cheeses creates an amazingly creamy, tasty, smooth, and packed with flavor sauce.
Be sure to use freshly shredded cheese from a block to make this perfectly creamy sauce – see my note below the recipe for more info!
We are then going to stir in some cooked onions, paprika, and cayenne pepper for a special kick! Add more spices to your preference. If you like it spicy, add some extra cayenne. That’s the way I like it and it is SO good.
This recipe is a total hit with my husband and I. And I think it will be a winner in your home too! Totally kid-friendly, gluten-free-friendly, and, hey, adults can enjoy some mac and cheese from time-to-time too! Serve with some veggies like broccoli or asparagus and you’ve got yourself an easy, fun dinner.
- 1 lb. gnocchi (be sure to use GF gnocchi, if GF)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ white onion, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons thickener (cornstarch, flour, GF flour, etc.)
- ½ cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup fontina cheese, freshly shredded
- ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly shredded
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Boil a large pot of water and cook the gnocchi for 4-5 minutes or until they float to the surface of the water (read package instructions to be sure). When cooked, drain and toss with a small amount of olive oil to avoid sticking while your sauce cooks.
- Heat olive oil in a small saucepan and sauté the chopped onion until soft and translucent. You can do this as the gnocchi is cooking. Set aside off of the heat when fully cooked.
- Over medium heat, melt your butter in a large saucepan and add your minced garlic. Cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add your thickener and stir around the pan for about 1 minute to slightly cook it. Add the broth while stirring (or whisking) constantly, until the thickener is fully incorporated. Add the milk while stirring constantly and continue to heat until bubbles begin to appear and the mixture has started to thicken. Remove from heat.
- Stir in the three shredded cheese into the milk mixture until they have completed melted. Add the paprika and cayenne pepper. Add more to taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the onions you set aside earlier.
- Stir the gnocchi into the cheese sauce (if your saucepan is too small, transfer to a large bowl and stir). Serve immediately with any extra toppings like extra parmesan, salt, pepper, parsley, etc.
Make gluten-free: If you are gluten-free, make sure to use gluten-free certified gnocchi. Although gnocchi is potato-based, most have some amounts of gluten in them. So, some brands provide a gluten-free option - use one of those! Also, choose a gluten-free thickener like cornstarch, oat flour, or other GF flours.
Make vegetarian: Use vegetable broth, not chicken broth.
Recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven’s fabulous original recipe.
If you try these, I’d love to see the result! Tag your kitchen creations with#mesacookingco so I can admire your beautiful work.
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