Gennaro & Bertolli with Butter

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Gnocchi al forno / Baked gnocchi with cheese, ham and sage


for the white sauce : 

50 gr butter

50 gr plain flour

500 hot milk

salt & freshly ground black pepper

150 gr fontina cheese, roughly chopped

200 gr ham, roughly chopped

30 gr butter, plus extra for greasing

6 sage leaves

600 gr ready-made potato gnocchi

100 gr parmesan cheese, freshly grated

salt & pepper



Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade.

Make the white sauce.  Melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat, add the flour, mixing well to obtain a smooth paste, stirring all the time.  To avoid lumps, use a small hand whisk.  Gradually hot the hot milk, stirring constantly, until the sauce begins to thicken.  After about 10 minutes, when the sauce has thickened, remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper and stir in the fontina cheese and ham. 

Bring a large saucepan of slightly salted water to the boil. 

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a small pan, add the sage leaves and saute' for a minute.

Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and when they float to the surface, take them out with a slotted spoon and add them to the pan of butter and sage, strirring well. 

Lightly grease an ovenproof dish with some butter. Spread a little of the cheese and ham sauce on the base of the dish and ad the rest to the cooked gnocchi, mixing well.  Pour half of the gnocchi into the dish, sprinkle with some parmesan, then pour in the remaining gnocchi and top with the remaining parmesan. 

Cover with a sheet of foil and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to bake for a further 15 minutes until golden. 

Remove from the oven,leave to rest for a couple of minutes and serve.