Sunday, March 20, 2011

gnocchi with taleggio

taleggio has become one of my favourite cheeses over the past few years. in kuwait, dean and deluca had some taleggio every once in a while, but as usual, they'd have a small quantity then nothing for months. then they changed their supplier and the taleggio they have now is pretty awful. carluccio's opened up and their deli has taleggio. i'm a happy man.

pictured above is a meal that took me no longer than five minutes to put together. gnocchi is one of the easiest, and quickest, pastas to cook. i make it myself sometimes, but this was from sultan in a packet. the sauce was basically taleggio, a spoon of milk, a couple of sage leaves, some nutmeg that i let melt in a separate pan. once the gnocchi started floating, i transferred it straight away and let it cook for a minute more, the sauce being absorbed by the potato and flour pillows. shredded some parmesan on top, done. didn't even add salt or pepper, it didn't need it.

taleggio isn't a very mild cheese, nor a very strong one either. it smells stronger than it tastes. but the complexity of flavour is what's great about taleggio - the strong aromas, the salty taste, hints of fruit maybe... i'm not really good at explaining these things. it's texture is also great. by my estimates, somewhere between a double- and triple-cream cheese, this cheese is made for melting. it doesn't need a strong temperature before the barely firm cheese turns into rivers of white, as i would imagine warm marshmallow in the factory before getting cut up into smaller pieces.

recently i had some taleggio and raclette that were going to be going bad soon, so I made some great grilled cheese sandwiches. just with some standard kuwaiti white bread, cooked in a pan with some butter. i though honey would be a good dipping sauce for it, and it was. this cheese also goes really well with leeks on some pastry. it needs that accent, either sweet or savoury, to bring out the subtleties of the flavour.

edit: yes, according to wikipedia, taleggio is 48% fat, which puts it right between double cream (40%) and triple cream (60%)