Category Archives: bread crumbs

Gnocchi Mac & Cheese


I love macaroni and cheese; actually my entire family does. The premise behind the dish is so simple, noodles and cheese baked together in the oven but the execution can be anything but ordinary. Classic macaroni and cheese is delicious as is roasted garlic mac & cheese and broccoli mac & cheese. Or perhaps you prefer your mac and cheese even a bit more different; in that case, beer and jack chili mac n’ cheese might be what you want or if you are looking for an impressive presentation sausage macaroni & cheese stuffed squash is what you need. But what if your mac and cheese doesn’t include the traditional noodles?

That is exactly what this mac and cheese, adapted from Sugar & Soul, is all about. Here, gnocchi, those little Italian pillows of potato goodness, take the place of traditional noodles. The cheese sauce remains the same and is comprised of a variety of cheeses which only adds to the complexity of the sauce. Its so easy and so good.

Serve these cheesy gnocchi with a green salad and dinner is ready. Yum!


1/4 pound diced pancetta

1 pound potato gnocchi

1 tablespoon butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/3 cup shredded asiago cheese

1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat a ceramic casserole dish with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
  • Cook the gnocchi according to package instructions. When the gnocchi is cooked, drain it a colander and transfer it to the prepared casserole dish.
  • Fry the pancetta in a medium sized skillet set over medium-high heat until browned and crisp.
  • Drain the pancetta onto a paper towel then sprinkle evenly over the gnocchi.
  • Add the butter to the pancetta fat and stir in the garlic. Cook until fragrant.
  • Stir in the flour and wisk until bubbly.
  • Add in the milk, salt, and pepper and stir until thick, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the cheddar, mozzarella, and the parmesan cheese to the skillet and then immediately remove it from heat.
  • Wisk until cheese has melted.
  • Pour cheese sauce over the gnocchi and sprinkle with the asiago cheese and the bread crumbs.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until top layer of cheese is melted and golden brown.

Serves 6


Braised Fennel w/ Parmesan Crumbs

Fennel.  It’s the often ignored or misunderstood vegetable with the subtle anise flavor.  It is readily available throughout markets in Europe but seems to be more difficult to find in the U.S.  People seem to either love it, hate it, or have never tried it. Personally, I love the licorice flavor of fennel. It is tangy and crisp when eaten raw but once it is cooked, the flavors mellow and become much more subtle.
This recipe, adapted from Cooking Light, is the perfect introduction to fennel for those who have never tried it yet will be sure to please the biggest fennel fans. Braised in a wine and broth mixture, the fennel emerges with a texture like butter. When topped with crunchy parmesan infused bread crumbs you have a dish that is both smooth and creamy yet crunchy. Best of all, this dish is easy to make. You can serve it on a platter family style or dress it up by filling individual ramekins with the fennel before adding the topping. I’ve served this dish as a side with barbecue chicken but it is also good with a simple grilled steak. Enjoy!
3 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and halved lengthwise, fronds minced and reserved
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoon Pernod
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
  • Cut each fennel half into 3 wedges.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add fennel; cook 7 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.
  • Add wine, stock, salt, 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper, and the thyme. Bring to a ­simmer.
  • Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until tender.
  • Increase heat to medium-high and add the Pernod to the pan.
  • Cook, uncovered, 1 minute or until liquid is slightly thickened.
  • Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet over medium heat.
  • Add  the breadcrumbs; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently.
  • Remove pan from heat; stir in minced fennel fronds, parmesan cheese and black pepper
  • Arrange fennel wedges on a platter and breadcrumb mixture evenly over fennel.

Serves 6

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