While in Turin for Slow Food’s Terra Madre conference, I ate in many restaurants, and they all shared one thing: pride in trumpeting the local cuisine. It was fall, so chestnuts and mushrooms were everywhere, but the chestnut gnocchi at Al Garamond were what stuck with me. I whipped up this recipe in homage to that dish. Al Garamond serves its gnocchi with a fontina sauce, but I switched things up by topping them with another cheese from the area, Robiola Bosina.
What to buy: Chestnut and “00” flours can be found in ethnic groceries and online. Robiola Bosina is a creamy, soft-rind cheese from the Piedmont region of Italy. Its delicate flavor stars in this dish, and it can be found at specialty grocery stores and cheese shops.
Special equipment: Get a potato ricer to make this dish properly. It’s a relatively inexpensive and very useful piece of kitchen equipment to have anyway.
Game plan: The gnocchi can be formed up to 2 hours ahead of time, placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet, covered, and refrigerated until ready to use. Here are some tips on how to form them.
Beverage pairing: Vietti Roero Arneis, Italy. The chestnuts offer a subtle sweetness, while the Robiola cheese gives richness and a slight pungency. A rich white wine is what comes to mind first, but in the Piemonte, where the cheese comes from, the whites tend to be on the light and perky side with a little floral twist, especially those made from the Arneis grape. Vietti makes a great one that has enough body to not get steamrolled by the dish, along with bright, sharp flavors to puncture the richness.
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