Cheese Gnocchi Pie

Can you guess the secret ingredient?

This was my first Kitchen Parade column! It was published in 2002 in the Baudette Region, the newspaper where my mom wrote Kitchen Parade for twelve years. Today I wouldn't call this 'gnocchi' for it's a far cry from the authentic Italian dumplings. But I still make it -- it's definitely delicious.

Welcome back, Kitchen Parade!

Long-time Region readers will remember when my Mom, Shirley Kellogg, introduced this column in 1959.

Mom was a young wife and new mother then, also a home economist finding her place in a small town. Week in, week out, she wrote the column for twelve years and only stopped when our family moved.

When my parents returned to Baudette some years later, Mom was pleased when women would stop her on the street to welcome her home and add, “I got my favorite recipe for such-‘n’-such from your column.”

My father, my sister Adanna and I remember that during the Kitchen Parade years, meals could be, errr, interesting at our house.

But perhaps it was the rich mosaic of Mom’s cooking that instilled in me an appreciation for simple food cooked well.

With the events of September 11th and my mother’s death in May, I began to consider a career change. I’ve fixed upon a recipe column – you guessed it, called Kitchen Parade – for small-town newspapers like the Region. You’re reading the debut column. Wish me luck – better yet, send your favorite recipe!

Pronounced “NO-kee” and meaning “dumpling” in Italian, this unusual side dish became a family hit a year ago. My cousin Sharon made it twice a week that spring! Few guess the “secret” ingredient, cream of wheat.

Kitchen Parade is written by Alanna Kellogg, daughter of long-time Baudette resident Bill Kellogg and the late Shirley Kellogg. Reach her via e-mail.

CHEESE GNOCCHI PIE

Serves 8
Hand-on time: 15 minutes
Total preparation time: 45 minutes
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup cream of wheat
  • 1/4 cup butter, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9-inch glass pie pan or ceramic quiche dish with cooking spray. Heat but do not boil the milk in a double boiler. Add the cream of wheat, butter, salt and cayenne pepper. Heat thoroughly, stirring frequently, until butter melts. Remove from heat.

Add cheddar cheese. Add 1 tablespoon of the hot mixture to the beaten egg and stir. Repeat four times. Add egg mixture to hot mixture. (This process prevents the hot mixture from cooking the egg too quickly, which can cause lumps.) Pour into prepared pan and bake 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

ALANNA's TIPS Serve with barbecued chicken and a green salad or vegetable for a fast, delicious meal. Whole milk makes a rich, creamy version while skim milk creates a slightly grainier texture that is also delicious. If you double the ingredients for a thicker pie, do not double the salt.
NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving 191 Cal; 8g Protein; 12g Tot Fat; 7g Sat Fat; 12g Carb; 0g Fiber; 362mg Sodium; 60mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 4 points

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Gnocchi is pronounced "NYOK ee" (2 syllables) in Italian.
 
I recall making gnocchi many years ago and was, as you say, surprised at the ingredient Cream of Wheat: I remember that it was very good.

I know your mother would be very pleased that you have followed in her career footsteps. I am probably around your Mother's age. I will be 89 on Sept. 16.
 
I made this tonight to go with balsamic chicken & mushrooms and a side of fresh green beans. It was so tasty & my picky partner gobbled it up, too! Thanks so much for the recipe - I love your site!
 
Hi Jessica, thanks so much for taking the time to let me know. The ingredients always seem a little weird to people so good for you, being willing to try -- and thus learning how good this stuff is!
 
I watched Lydia Bastianich (Italian all the way!) on PBS and she is always refers to them with the pronunciation as 'nyok-ee', or if you prefer, nyolk-ee, like an egg 'yolk with an 'n' in front.

Either way, gnocchi are one of the best additions for ham-Great Northern bean soup. It just isn't ham-bean soup without gnocchi. We have made my mother-in-law's recipe with homemade flour, salt and egg dumplings, but my husband and I prefer gnocchi. Can you say Mmmmmm?!
 
I just stumbled on this recipe here on your blog and what a surprise! My (German-American) family has been making this very recipe since at least the mid-60's (pronouncing it guh-notch'-ee), when I was a kid and we lived in WV. It was always a special-meal treat - must have been a magazine or Junior League recipe, my Mom doesn't remember where she got it. My sisters and I have made it for our kids (now in college), who won't eat polenta or grits or anything like that, but they love this.

For these many years my husband's Italian-American family has made fun of the name (while enjoying the dish nonetheless) - his Mom makes what they call "real" gnocchis (small potato dumplings, pronounced nyuck'-ees) by hand.

However, I recently found a recipe in a 1996 Lorenza de'Medici book on the traditional regional cooking of Italy for "Gnocchi alla Romana", with similar ingredients and preliminary preparation, though it calls for semolina instead of the branded Cream of Wheat (which is the same thing, basically) and the finishing prep is different/more complicated. So there is some authenticity here, just 'American-ized'!
 
Karen ~ Thanks so much for your family story and the de'Medici information!

Maybe this is 'one-pot' gnocchi, versus the individual dumplings? How convenient!
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna