Paula Wolfert usually bakes gnocchi in gratins, relieving her of the stress of last-minute cooking. Good, light potato gnocchi can take a really lush sauce such as this one from Emilia-Romagna, which is creamy and fragrant with stewed radicchio, seared pancetta, crunchy pine nuts and a mild Gorgonzola dolce, also called dolcelatte.
Slideshow: More Gnocchi Recipes
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large, nonstick skillet, melt the butter. Add the gnocchi and cook over high heat until browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
In the same skillet, heat the oil. Add the pancetta and cook over low heat until the fat has rendered, 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Stir in the radicchio, cover and cook until tender, 4 minutes. Add the cream, milk and Gorgonzola and simmer to melt the cheese, 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the sauce over and around the gnocchi. Top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano, bread crumbs and pine nuts. Bake on the upper rack for 20 minutes, until the gratin is golden. Serve.
The sauce can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently.
The flavor of this dish is more about the rich, mildly tangy Gorgonzola dolce than the gnocchi themselves, making it ideal for a red wine with zesty acidity. A Sangiovese from San Benito County or Napa is a good option.
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