When in Nome

There are times when the the soul of me gets stuck like a Russian tanker making its way to Nome. They get frustrated up there in Nome and they get frustrated right here in River City. I’m no picnic. I can understand when Ferdinand huffs and puffs at a mother with the patience and humor of a gnat.
It’s not so bad that it can’t be fixed. That’s what breathing is for. And gnocchi.
If you peel the potatoes (3 med), chop them into big chunks and simmer them with salt and just enough enough water to cover til tender, you can make the white sauce at the same time. For the two of us I use a knob of butter, about equal amounts of flour and whisk that up with a sprig of thyme and a whole clove of uncut garlic until the flour has lost its rawness and is on its way to butter cookie. Turn off the heat and give it a spill of whole milk. Whisk til smooth. Add another spill and do the same. Now give it a little flame, and enough milk to equal about a cup. Simmer and whisk until it coats the back of a spoon. Taste for salt and pepper. Strain and then put it back in the same pot off the flame. Same with the potatoes: strain the potatoes and put them back in the same pot, but give them a low flame for a minute to dry them out. Immediately smash with a fork and season with a little salt and pepper. Now go breathe–walking really fast helps a lot if you’re self conscious about doing nothing but breathing.
When you come back, add a beaten egg to the potatoes along with about a cup of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Mix only as much as you have to. Divide the dough into small sections, and roll each section into a log shape, about the width of a sharpie pen. Coat a sheet pan with cornmeal, or your counter if it’s big enough, and cut the logs into one inch gnocchi. You don’t have to crimp them with a fork if you don’t feel like it.
Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the gnocchi, about 10 to 15 at a time, and as soon as they rise to the surface, scoop them out with a slotted spoon onto a sieve covered w/paper towel. Butter a platter, and let them rest on there until you’re done with the rest. Now heat the bechamel back up slowly and when it’s barely at a simmer, add chunks of gorgonzola, whisking as you go, and then a good handful of parmesan. Taste to tell when it has enough cheese for you. Add a glimmer of freshly grated nutmeg. I’m serving it with asparagus on the side.

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