I tend to be a purist when it comes to classic dishes, but this twist on mac and cheese has me changing my tune. Swap in tender potato gnocchi for the usual elbow or shell pasta, and the result is even more decadent and comforting than the original. Each bite is cloaked in a creamy cheddar cheese sauce, and the whole skillet is topped with Parmesan cheese to create a crispy golden crust.
Video: Gnocchi Mac & Cheese
Gnocchi Mac and Cheese Is the Ultimate Comfort Food Mash-Up
There's no arguing the power of homemade mac and cheese. It has the ability to cure any bad day, and potato gnocchi ups the ante. The tender, pillow-like dumplings have even more surface area for the cheese sauce to cling to, and they cook in just three minutes. Other than the pot of boiling water, you only need one skillet to make this dish — you'll whisk the sauce together on the stovetop, and then toss in the gnocchi and bake until bubbly.
This is the kind of dish you'll want to share with friends (in fact, they'll be angry if you don't), so whip it up next time you have people over — it serves six to eight.
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Skillet Gnocchi Mac and Cheese
Serves 6 to 8
Prep time: 5 minutes ; cooking time: 20 minutes to 25 minutes
kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water
2 (16-ounce) packages
fresh or frozen potato gnocchi
(3/4 stick) unsalted butter
whole or 2% milk
shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 1/2 packed cups)
freshly ground black pepper
grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Finely chopped fresh basil or parsley leaves, for serving
Arrange a rack in the top third of the oven (about 6 to 8 inches from the broiler element), and heat to 400°F. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes or according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Melt the butter in a 10- or 12-inch cast iron or other ovenproof high-sided skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. While whisking constantly, slowly pour in the milk and continue whisking until smooth. Switch to a wooden spoon and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the sauce is noticeably thickened and coats the back of the spoon, about 2 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the cheddar one handful at a time until melted and smooth. Stir in the mustard, pepper, salt, paprika, and half the Parmesan. Add the cooked gnocchi and stir gently until the gnocchi is evenly coated with sauce. Top with remaining Parmesan.
Bake until the sauce is bubbling, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil until the top is golden-brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Top with basil or parsley before serving.
Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.