YIELD: 12 SERVINGS
3 lbs. Idaho russet potatoes
6 qts. water
2 cups all purpose flour
1 egg, extra large
1 pinch salt
1 lb. bacon, cooked, finely crumbled
1 bunch chives, minced
2 Tbsps. butter Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup olive oil, divided
Bleu Cheese Sauce:
3 Tbsps. butter
3 Tbsps. all purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. smoked paprika
⅛ tsp. ground black pepper
1½ cups milk
1 cup crumbled bleu cheese (gorgonzola, cabrales, etc.)
1. Boil the whole potatoes until they are soft (about 45 minutes). While still warm, peel and pass through vegetable mill onto clean pasta board.
2. Bring water to boil in a large spaghetti pot. Set up ice bath with 6 cups ice and 6 cups water near boiling water.
3. Make well in center of potatoes and sprinkle all over with flour, using all the flour. Place egg and salt in center of well and using a fork, stir into flour and potatoes. Once egg is mixed in, fold in bacon and chives; bring dough together, kneading gently until a ball is formed. Knead gently another 4 minutes until ball is dry to touch.
4. Roll baseball-sized ball of dough into ¾-inch diameter dowels and cut dowels into 1-inch long pieces. Drop pieces off of fork or concave side of cheese grater until dowel is finished. Drop these pieces into boiling water and cook until they float (about 1 minute). Meanwhile, continue with remaining dough. As gnocchi float to top of boiling water, remove them to ice bath. Continue until all have been cooled off. Let sit several minutes in bath and drain from ice and water. Toss with ½ cup olive oil and store covered in refrigerator up to 48 hours until ready to serve.
5. For service: Heat other ½ cup olive oil and butter in large sauté pan until butter starts to turn brown. Toss in gnocchi and sauté until gnocchis start to brown. Remove from pan onto plate, season with salt and pepper, serve with bleu cheese sauce.*
For Bleu cheese sauce: Melt butter; remove from heat. Stir in flour and seasonings. Gradually add milk, stirring until well mixed. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Cook for 5 minutes longer; add cheese. Stir until smooth and well blended.
*Suggestion: serve on toothpicks with sauce in a bowl for dipping. If you have a fondue bowl, the cheese sauce will be better.
Recipe: Jorge De La Torre, dean of Culinary Education, Johnson & Wales University, Denver, Colo. Photo: Idaho Potato Commission.