- For 4 first course portions, prepare the béchamel sauce by placing a knob of butter (1 Tbsp) and about equal amounts of flour in a saucepan. Whisk that up with a sprig of thyme and a whole clove of uncut garlic until the flour has lost its rawness and is on its way to butter cookie.
- Turn off the heat and give it a spill of whole milk. Whisk 'til smooth. Add another spill and do the same.
- Now give it a little flame, and enough milk to equal about a cup. Simmer and whisk until it coats the back of a spoon. Taste for salt and pepper. Strain and then put it back in the same pot off the flame.
- In the meantime, boil some potatoes. Strain the potatoes and put them back in the same pot, but give them a low flame for a minute to dry them out. Immediately smash with a fork and season with a little salt and pepper. Now go breathe—walking really fast helps a lot if you’re self conscious about doing nothing but breathing.
- When you come back, add a beaten egg to the potatoes along with about a cup of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Mix only as much as you have to.
- Divide the dough into small sections, and roll each section into a log shape, about the width of a sharpie pen. Coat a sheet pan with cornmeal, or your counter if it’s big enough, and cut the logs into one-inch gnocchi. You don’t have to crimp them with a fork if you don’t feel like it.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the gnocchi, about 10 to 15 at a time, and as soon as they rise to the surface, scoop them out with a slotted spoon onto a sieve covered with paper towel. Butter a platter, and let them rest on there until you’re done with the rest.
- Now heat the béchamel back up slowly and when it’s barely at a simmer, add chunks of gorgonzola (or St. Agur), whisking as you go, and then a good handful of Parmigiano Reggiano. Taste to tell when it has enough cheese for you.
- Add a glimmer of freshly grated nutmeg. I love it with sautéed asparagus with garlic and fresh basil on the side.
Faye, of dinnerlist fame, tells us this is a really fun recipe to do with kids. Just be sure to mash the potatoes while they're hot, or they'll get gluey!