If you ever have the chance to visit Firenze, Italy, you must eat at Osteria Santo Spirito, which is famous for their four-cheese truffle gnocchi gratin recipe.
We enjoyed a wonderful meal with our group there in June, which was led by our good friend and Italian native Emanuele Leoni Dickinson. He leads tours to Italy through his Pacngo.net website.
The restaurant has a small dining room that opens up to the town square, where there is additional outdoor seating. Since we were visiting during a heat wave that saw temperatures rising into the mid 90s, we huddled up inside the dining room. There was just enough room for our party of 13 to get some relief from the heat and enjoy some of the best food in Florence.
We started off with a delicious charcuterie board called “The Tasters of the Osteria.” This special dish included various salamis, cheeses, lard of Colonnata, tomato bruschetta, boar sausage, and croutons of liver and fettunta.
Osteria Santo Spirito’s Truffle Gnocchi
Next up was Osteria Santo Spirito’s truffle gnocchi gratinati, made with four soft cheeses and scented with black truffles. We ordered three for the table, and they came out bubbling and browned straight from the oven. These creamy little pillows of soft gnocchi had the most delicious depth of flavor from the truffle. I’ve never had anything like it!!
A little bit of research on the restaurant’s Facebook page reveals that Osteria Santo Spirito’s gnocchi truffle oil comes from a bottle of C MAS Collection Truffle Olive Oil. It boasts “aromatic black summer truffle pieces in olive oil.” If anyone knows where we can buy this, please let me know!
I haven’t been able to find this particular brand on Amazon, or anywhere online. However, Dittman’s Truffle Carpaccio is a good substitute, or you can use any good-quality black truffle oil. Just be careful you don’t buy a truffle oil with “truffle flavor” or “truffle aroma.” They are all over the place and are synthetic and chemical tasting.
Some other delicious dishes we tried were the spaghetti with clams, and the mussel soup with garlic bread. The mussel soup came out steaming hot, bathed in a tomato-garlic sauce that was just incredible.
Another must-try dish is the Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a T-bone steak that’s a specialty in Florence. Their mixed meat grill has enough food to easily serve two people.
Of course you can’t go wrong with the pasta, and there are plenty of delicious choices.
Menu items range from a basic spaghetti with garlic oil and chili; chitarra with Datterini tomatoes and basil; and a handmade tortellacci with walnut cream.
Osteria Santo Spirito is at Via Sant’Agostino, 8, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy. Call +39 055 238 2383 or visit them online.
The key to this four cheese truffle gnocchi gratin recipe is to coat the gnocchi well in the white sauce, and then cook it in a shallow dish under the broiler so it gets nice and bubbly. Feel free to add a little of my garlic-shallot puree to the cream mixture for an added touch.
Four Cheese Truffle Gnocchi Gratin (Truffle Gnocchi Gratinati)Recipe by Jason Hill – CookingSessions.com
- 2 pounds gnocchi
- 2 cups milk or cream
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 lb. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese finely grated (or a mixture of Gorgonzola, Fontina, Gruyere, Tallegio and Parmesan)
- 2 teaspoons Truffle Carpaccio or good-quality black truffle oil
- 1 tablespoon butter cut into small bits
- 1 tablespoon dried bread crumbs optional
- Warm the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. In another saucepan, over medium low heat, stir butter until melted. Add the flour to the butter and stir constantly until it forms a roux, about 3 minutes.
- Remove roux from heat and add the hot milk, whisking constantly. Season with a dash of kosher salt to taste. Return to the heat over medium and stir until the sauce is smooth and thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside. Stir in truffle oil.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Cook the gnocchi in boiling water until done; strain.
- Butter a large ovenproof baking dish. Add a layer of gnocchi, topped with half the white sauce and half the cheese. Top with the rest of the gnocchi, and add the remaining sauce and cheese.
- Sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 30-45 minutes. Start checking for doneness at about 30 minutes.
- Serve, drizzled with more truffle oil if desired.