Ultimate in comfort food… Ham & Cheese Gnocchi

In our home one of my favourite things to roast on the weekend is a ham shank.  I then always look forward to the many meal options I can make with the leftovers!  Split pea and ham soup, ham sandwiches for days, and my favorite comfort food… This Ham and Cheese Gnocchi – Paired with my favourite Viognier!

gnocchihamcheese

Why does this pairing work so well?

Both pork and oak contain Lactones, which makes a Viognier that has seen a little oak treatment a fabulous choice that matches the intensity of flavors and molecular structure of the meat.  Smoked pork in particular has a fantastic way of bringing out the apricot and stone fruit flavors found in Viognier.

Because of this, Ham works well with Viognier, particularly rich new world varieties that offer up lots of stone fruit, floral, and mineral characteristics.   While the old world French options are delicious, I find that they are more mineral/terroir driven and their subtle flavours can get a little lost with the flavors of sharp aged cheddar.  The fruit in some of the new world bottles holds up if you are using a stronger cheese.

Viognier is also an outstanding wine with my favorite Bacon & Blue Cheese Mac N Cheese, which is a recipe for another day!

sandhillviognier

My of my favorite go to bottles of Viognier is Sandhill Small Lots Viognier. (Available via ordering through their website if you are reading this in Alberta).  What many people may not realize is that this wine was actually one of the first wines that opened my eyes to how delicious and complex wine could really be.  This wine always nails the delicate balance between fruity, floral and cleansing minerality.   Because of this, it will always hold a special place in my heart – no matter the vintage.

Ham and Cheese Gnocchi

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cups cooked ham diced

16 oz gnocchi uncooked (1 package) – or make your own with this recipe!

  • 1.5 cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1.5 cup mozzarella shredded
  • 2.5 cups sharp/old cheddar cheese shredded

 

In large oven proof skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter over medium heat.

Add diced onions to skillet and saute for 2min, add mushrooms and cover for 5mins.  Remove cover and continue to saute until onions are translucent, soft, and mushrooms have begun to brown (approx. another 5mins)

Add diced ham and increase heat to med/high.  Stirring frequently , cooking long enough just to brown the ham and onions slightly.

De-glaze the pan with 1.5 cups of chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  Once simmering add 3/4 cup of heavy cream and season with pepper to taste.

Add package of gnocchi straight into simmering mixture and cook for 3 mins, stir in 2 cups of sharp cheddar and continue to boil until liquid is reduced to ¾ (about 3 mins).

Remove from heat and top with Mozzarella and remaining cheddar.  Place in 400C oven and bake until cheese is melted , bubbly, and begins to brown slightly.

Allow to rest for a few minutes before serving and garnish with additional cracked pepper if desired!

Cheers!

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