Baked Gnocchi 'N' Cheese

Parmesan, Horseradish Cheddar, Scallions, Breadcrumbs

Although summer makes one think of lighter food fare, it is still chock full of heavier comfort foods such as burgers, ribs, fried chicken, and macaroni and cheese.

I hadn't made a mac 'n' cheese yet this summer, yet when I saw a package of gnocchi on sale, it downed on me that I could use those bite-sized, non-tube pasta bites in the same pasta-cream-and-cheese casserole application.

I slowly stirred horseradish cheddar and parmesan cheeses into a small saucepan of heavy cream and evaporated milk, seasoning it with salt, pepper, oregano, and smoked paprika until it became a nice, creamy sauce. 

I added just cooked through gnocchi and some chopped scallions I sautéed in rendered bacon fat. Then I distributed the mix into ramekins (pre-greased with more bacon fat) — topping each ramekin with a slice of the horseradish, some grated parmesan, and breadcrumbs toasted in butter — and placed the ramekins into a 350° oven for about 20 minutes.

As creamy, gooey delicious as the best macaroni (or penne or ziti or rigatoni or cavatappi) and cheese out there, but with a more substantial bite of pasta, accented by each little morsel's inherently unique firm pillowy-ness.

These appetizer-sized portions are enough to satisfy a full-course palate and appetite. Good thing it's summer, and we can go out and run, ride, swim, play all those delicious calories off!