I never thought I would like gnochhi, but this really opened my eyes. To me gnocchi was a no-flavor mound of dough. In this recipe, not only do you learn how to really make it, but with a sauce that is so rich you want to drink it like soup!
Cold potatoes are critical to making good gnocchi! Bake them the night before. 375 for a minimum of 60 minutes, make sure they are done- poke with a fork, before and after!
Scoop out the flesh of the potatoes once they are cool. [not necessary to the recipe, but save potato skins to fill with cheee and chili to bake and serve with sour cream, onions and hot sauce- awesome!].
Refrigerate the baked potato flesh overnight.
Next is to mix the dry ingredients in a stand mixer (flour, parm and nutmeg) (or do it with a hand mixer and a boatload of patience).
This is the dating stage, let those dry ingredients blend together --
Stop the mixer and add all of the COLD potato at once.
Mix on low for 5 minutes. At first this will look very dry and you will be tempted to add liquid. DO NOT DO IT!
After 5 minutes, you have a dough. They are married now and we all honor the bond :).
While doing this, brown the italian sausage in a pan. Make sure it is done because it will only be warmed through after this stage.
As you are making the dough, prepare the cheese sauce:
Start a small pot of water to a boil and place a glass bowl over it.
Keep the water boiling at a low temp, barely boiling- small bubbles.
This is a double boiler, most people know what it is, but if you did not, just cook in the clean bowl and let the boiling water do the heating!
To the bowl on top, add the three cheeses (this keeps the cheese sauce from sticking to the bottom of a pan- a bowl in this case).
Add the cream. The cream will absorb the heat and allow the cheeses to melt together.
The dough is now looking like dough, bring it out and punch it down and knead it a few times- you don't want air bubbles in the dough or they will absorb water.
Cut the dough into fist sized balls.
Roll them out with your palms to make long, cigar-shaped cylinders.
Line them all up and chop at 1/2-3/4" intervals. This makes the pillow shpaed gnocchi.
The cheese sauce should be melted so mix it up with the sausage in a serving bowl.
Turn the water up to a boil to cook the gnocchi in the boiling water.
Once a few of them float to the top, ALL of them are done. Don't pick the floaters only, when a few float, get them all (assuming you added them all at the same time).
Put the gnocchi into the sauce/sausage mix and let stand for a minute or two so the gnocchi can absorb the awesomesauce.