with Prosciutto and Parmesan Cream

As served by the Union Square Cafe in San Francisco, California.

To make the gnocchi:

Pour boiling water over dried porcini and soak at least 15 minutes to reconstitute. Drain mushrooms. Strain liquid through filter and reserve. Squeeze mushrooms until dry and purée to smooth paste.

Boil potatoes in salted water to cover until tender. While still warm, peel potatoes and rice onto an even layer on a large cookie sheet. Do not handle potatoes. Cool 15 minutes in refrigerator. Heap cooled potatoes in a mound in a well in the center add the porcini puree, cheese, egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix with fingers to form rough dough. Sprinkle flour over dough and knead until smooth, uniformly colored, and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.

Form dough into rectangle 8x4 and slice into 8 pieces and roll each piece into an 18 inch cylinder as think as an index finger. Cut each cylinder into 1-1/4 inch dumplings. Shape into traditional gnocchi crescent with ribs on one side and a slight pocket on the other. Refrigerate on a cookie sheet until ready to cook.

For the sauce:

Remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms. Chop stems and slice caps. Reserve separately. In half of the butter, sauté the onions, garlic, mushroom stems and parsley. Cook until wilted, about 4 minutes.

Add the wine and porcini liquid. Reduce by 2/3. Add the heavy cream and reduce until it coats the back of a spoon. Strain the sauce and set aside.

Saute shiitake mushroom caps in remaining butter. Combine the cream sauce, mushroom caps, prosciutto, chopped Swiss chard and half the Parmesan cheese. Cook over medium heat 3-4 minutes and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper.

Bring 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon salt. Add the gnocchi. As they float to the surface, remove the gnocchi and place in a warm dish. When the gnocchi are all cooked and drained, cover them with the warm cream sauce. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and the remaining cheese.

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Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)