Typically, these gnocchi are chilled, cut and then baked, but I like to brown them off in some olive oil first to keep them from getting too soft. I’ve also added sauteed cavolo nero (black kale or dinosaur kale), sausage and sharp provolone to bolster the flavor of the tender cakes. It’s a charmer, this one. And what good recipe isn’t.
Gnocchi alla Romana with Italian Sausage, Cavolo Nero and Provolone
6 tbs. of unsalted butter
2 c. whole milk
1 c. of chicken stock
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of black pepper
1 c. of polenta
1/2 c. of locatelli
1/4 c. of olive oil
1 bunch of cavolo nero, ribs removed and chopped roughly
1/2 lb. of italian sausage, casings removed
1/4 c. of shredded sharp provolone
1 cl. of garlic, sliced into thin slivers
Bring the butter, milk, chicken stock, salt and pepper to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and continue to stir as it thickens, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and dribble in the egg, whisking the entire time so as not to end up with scrambled eggs. Pour out the mixture into a greased pan and let rest for an hour.
In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil. Use a 2 1/2 inch ring mold or the mouth of a glass to cut the polenta into circles. Fry the circles in the oil until browned on both sides (and feel free to be a frugal fanny and fry the cut pieces as well). Place the gnocchi into a greased baking dish and set aside.
Using the oil in the frying pan, add the sausage and cook until browned. Add the cavolo nero and garlic and cook until kale wilts and garlic is fragrant. Top gnocchi with sausage and kale and sprinkle provolone over the whole mess. Place under the broiler and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly. Let rest for a few minutes and then serve.