Think of this as fancy mac and cheese. Oh, and easier too, since packaged gnocchi doesn’t need to be cooked beforehand (unlike pasta). This is the perfect cozy comfort food dish for a casual dinner party, or for any time you’d rather not serve meat as the main course. It’s also great as part of a potluck buffet, although in my experience it quickly becomes the star of the show. Serve a few crunchy vegetables sides with it, such as Carrot-Lemon Slaw and Celery and Fennel Salad.
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 yellow onion finely chopped
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
- 2 cups 2% milk
- 3 cups grated old white Cheddar cheese divided
- 1 small bunch chopped into small pieces broccoli (about 3 cups)
- 2.2 pounds (1 kg) plain potato gnocchi
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and tinged with gold, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir well to incorporate. Stir in the mustard, thyme and cayenne, if using. Reduce heat to low, then add about half of the milk, stirring until the mixture is smooth and thick. Stir in the rest of the milk. Bring to a simmer and cook until just slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of the cheese and stir until melted. Stir in the gnocchi and bring back to a simmer, then turn off the heat and stir in the broccoli. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
- Cover tightly with foil and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly at the edges. Take off the foil and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheese. Broil, leaving the pan in the middle of the oven, 1 to 3 minutes or until golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Make ahead Assemble the dish but do not bake. Keep refrigerated for up to 1 day. Bake as per recipe, increasing the baking time to 45 minutes.
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