Friday, February 14, 2014

Ham & Cheese Gnocchi

The South just survived what the forecasters were calling a "historical" snow storm.  Thankfully Athens just received sleet and snow, instead of freezing rain and ice, so we were able to enjoy a winter wonderland this week, instead of a crippling catastrophic event.  Even though the snow is now melting, I'm still finding myself craving comfort food.  For some odd reason, I am specifically craving French comfort food--a Croque Monsieur, to be exact.  

If you've never had the pleasure of eating one, a Croque Monsieur is a decadent ham and swiss sandwich that has been grilled and topped with a béchamel sauce.  This dish, however, is a bit high in calories, and perhaps isn't the most kid-friendly dish, so I set out to recreate the dish to make it more in our family's style.  I decided to reimagine the dish as a pasta; using gnocchi instead of bread, and a white cheese sauce instead of a béchamel sauce.  

This dish, my dear readers, is so far my absolute favorite dish of 2014.  I originally wanted to name my pasta Gnocchi alla Croque Monsier, but I was afraid it would make the recipe sound too intimidating, when nothing could be further from the truth.  It was so quick and easy to make (less than thirty minutes!) and both my husband and kid gobbled it up.  If you keep your portion size reasonable and pair it with a light salad, this meal easily remains under 500 calories. 

Ham & Cheese Gnocchi
Serves 4-5

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
12 oz Potato Gnocchi
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Flour
1 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
8 oz Gruyere Cheese, freshly shredded
1 tsp Ground Mustard
8 oz Ham, chopped
3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Cups Spinach Leaves, chopped
Salt & Pepper, to taste


1.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add in olive oil and then the gnocchi.  Sauté gnocchi until fully cooked and slightly browned, about 7 minutes.  

2.  Meanwhile,  heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add in butter, and once melted and foamy, sprinkle on the flour.  Whisk mixture for one minute, and then slowly pour in the chicken broth, and then the milk, whisking the entire time.  Bring mixture to a simmer, whisking constantly, and cook until thickened, about a minute or two. Stir in shredded cheese and ground mustard, and whisk until completely smooth and then take off the heat.

3.  Keeping the large skillet with the gnocchi at medium heat, add the ham and garlic in with the now-done gnocchi.  Sauté for two minutes, and then pour in the cheese sauce.  Stir in the chopped spinach, and cook until the spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes.  Add salt & Pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Serving Size:  1/5th of Entire Dish
Calories:  382
Fat:  18
Carbs:  34
Protein:  22

1 comment:

  1. Oh, that sounds great! I even have some ham that needs to be used up.