Makes 6 servings
Unlike potato gnocchi, these dumplings are a bit more dense and toothsome, though still nice and light. The truffled cheese sauce is decadent and rich, making it perfect for a special occasion.
- 1 quart water
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 oz (1 1/4 cups) cornmeal
- 1 scant cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 9 oz Fontina
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 oz (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons truffle paste
- Kosher salt, as needed
- 2 oz fresh truffle (optional)
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives (optional)
- Cut the Fontina into thin strips, place it in a bowl and pour the milk over, and macerate the cheese in the milk in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.
- Bring the water for the polenta to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add salt and the oil, and then slowly add the cornmeal, whisking continuously. Let simmer gently until the polenta is done, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to make sure the polenta does not stick, 30 to 40 minutes. (The cooking time will vary depending on the coarseness of your cornmeal.) Remove the polenta from the heat, pour the polenta into a shallow dish, and let it cool. (This can be done ahead of time; the polenta can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
- Spread the 1 cup of flour on a flat work surface, then push the polenta through a fine sieve directly onto the flour and gather it into a mound. Make a well in the center of the sieved polenta and add the egg and Parmigiano-Reggiano to the well. Knead gently just until the dough is well combined and smooth.
- Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll it into small log about 3/4-inch in diameter. Cut into 3/4-inch-long gnocchi. (You may roll each dumpling over the back of a fork, if desired.)
- Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over low heat, add the flour, and stir to combine. Add the macerated cheese and milk and stir until the cheese melts, but do not allow the mixture to boil.
- When the cheese is melted, add the egg yolks and truffle paste and stir to combine. At this point the fondue will look runny. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken and has a creamy consistency. Do not allow the temperature go over 185°F or the eggs will scramble.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the gnocchi in batches and cook, uncovered, at a gentle boil until the gnocchi rise to the surface and are cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes depending on their size. (They will float to the surface about 1 minute before they are fully cooked. To be certain, taste one of the gnocchi.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a colander to drain.
- When all the gnocchi are cooked, reheat them in boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and combine them in a heated serving dish with the fondue sauce, or put them on individual plates and pour the fondue on top. Garnish with finely shaved truffle and chives, if desired.