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Simple Pastas to Satisfy Those Starch Cravings


Busy hiking in the Alpsor just reading about the famed mountain range in our recent Best Cheeses issue? Both activities are likely to spark your appetite. Satisfy those starchy cravings here with two of our favorite, simple, and absolutely delicious recipes—Italian cheese-smothered gnocchi and German spaetzle. 

Gnocchi ai Quattro Formaggi

Whether you choose to go the homemade or store-bought route, you won’t go wrong when you combine soft pillows of gnocchi with this decadent and creamy four-cheese sauce. Feel free to experiment and use different cheeses, as long as they fall within the same category as the ones mentioned below. For example, use a hard, aged cheese such as Grana Padano for the Parmigiano-Reggiano or fresh chèvre for the mascarpone.
Servings 4


  • 1 pound gnocchi homemade or store-bought, cooked
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup crumbled Gorgonzola Dolce
  • ½ cup mascarpone
  • ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano plus more to garnish
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley


  • ►Combine and gently warm milk and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add cheeses and continue to stir until cheese is melted. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  • ►Add gnocchi to cheese sauce and toss to coat. Season to taste. Garnish with parsley and more Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve immediately.

A German classic that makes for an easy, yet satisfying weeknight dinner.

German Spaetzle

Both a noodle and a dumpling, German spaetzle is for those nights when you crave comfort but want simplicity, too. Once you have the basic technique down, you can dress these noodle dumplings up or down—try them with a bit of browned butter and chives or sautéed onion with a few handfuls of Emmentaler and parsley.
Servings 6


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup whole milk


  • ►Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk eggs and milk in another bowl. Make a well in dry ingredients and pour in egg-milk mixture, stirring until dough is smooth and thick. Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes.
  • ►Prepare an ice bath. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Press the dough through a spaetzle maker or a large holed colander with a spatula or spoon.
  • ►In batches, cook the spaetzle for 3 to 4 minutes or until dumplings float to the surface. Fish the spaetzle out with a slotted spoon and drop into the ice bath.
  • ►When done cooking batter, drain the dumplings well and toss with a small amount of olive oil to keep from sticking. Prepare immediately, or refrigerate for up to one day.

Polina Chesnakova

Polina Chesnkova is a Seattle-based food writer, cooking class instructor, and the author of Hot Cheese: Over 50 Gooey, Oozy, Melty Recipes.

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