Northern Italy is the home of some of the greatest cheeses in Italy. One of my favourites is Gorgonzola, a soft blue cheese from the Lombardy region. Lombardy is very mountainous so cattle are often the favoured livestock of the area, therefore cheeses are to very popular in Lombardy. Gorgonzola is often aged in the caves up in the mountains giving and has been granted protected status, meaning Gorgonzola can only be produced in Lombardy, anything else isn’t Gorgonzola.
The story of how Gorgonzola was invented, quite by accident, is quite amusing. Many years ago an artisan cheese maker in Lombardy worked was training a young local boy how to be a cheese maker before he retired, passing on his skills. The young boy used to watch the cheese maker and was given two daily jobs, to get up early every morning light the fires, pour the fresh milk in to the vats and heat it up, then add the rennet so the curds where set when the cheese maker arrived around mid morning and then to get rid of the old curds at the end of the day and clean the equipment for next day. One afternoon while carrying out his duty the young boy saw a rather attractive local girl in the bakers next door and being a typical red blooded Italian he went next door to talk to her and ended up taking her out for the evening, but forget to dispose of the curds from that day.
When he arrived at work the next day he noticed the curds had been left out all night, so he added them to the fresh curds he made that day so the cheese maker was none the wiser of his mistake and the cheeses were made as usual. Three months later however, when the cheeses were tested before selling, the cheese maker discovered the a batch of cheeses that had green mouldy veins running through its core. He was baffled and angry as he had no idea why this had happened but then he noticed that it smelt very nice and decided to try it . . he loved it, took it around the town and everyone else loved it too. The young boy, remembered his mistake and owned up to the cheese maker and they tried leaving the curds out again to see if that was the cause, it was and Gorgonzola was born.
1 quantity of homemade gnocchi
125ml single cream
100g Gorgonzola cheese
bunch of chives, fine chopped
(1). Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add a good pinch of salt, then add the gnocchi to the water.
(2). In a separate pan heat the cream gently then crumble in the Gorgonzola stirring with a wooden spoon till the Gorgonzola melts and thickens the cream.
(3). By now the gnocchi should be rising to the surface of the boiling water, scoop out with a slotted spoon and add to the Gorgonzola cream along with the chopped chives and a couple of good twists of freshly ground black pepper..
(4). Stir gently making sure the gnocchi is well coated with the sauce.