Street Eats | Gnocchi Mac ‘n’ Cheese

IMG_1782When traveling and discovering a new place, be it a new city, country or continent, one of the best and delicious ways to do so is through food. While some like to consult their Michelin guides and shell out some major cash on ten course meals prepared by some of the world’s most famous chefs, others choose to go down a simpler, more down to earth path.

Street food offers a wallet friendly and diverse alternative to explore a new culture through its gastronomic offerings. While most of us probably associate street food with the ubiquitous hot dog vendors of New York City or cheese steaks of Philadelphia, the rest of the world is filled with an endless array and offering of savory and sweet on the go treats. In fact, 2.5 billion people eat street food everyday. The dining practice dates back to ancient times. It was sold by vendors in the destroyed city of Pompeii, during the Ottoman era in Turkey and also by the Aztecs.

Up until now, the driving force of street food consumption has been its low price and convenience, but we have recently experienced a second coming of reinvented, more refined and gourmet street food, in the form of food trucks. The concept of a food truck is actually more familiar than we think. Who doesn’t remember the exciting sound of the ice cream truck making its rounds through the neighborhood? Fast forward a decade, add in a recession, several economic and technological developments and you find yourself with a food truck industry that brings in over $1 billion annually.

During the economic crisis of 2008, many talented chefs and cooks found themselves jobless with few prospects in sight. Instead of opening up brick and mortar restaurants, the kitchen workers went to the streets and created fully functional restaurants on wheels. They then used the power of social media to interact with and update customers on their menu and locations they would be stopping at. Roy Choi, who is credited as being one of the founders of the 2008 food truck movement, has created a cult following with his Los Angeles based truck Kogi, which serves up Korean-Mexican fusion. Shortly after, trucks began popping up all over the country, with cuisine ranging from Middle Eastern food, to artisan empanadas, gourmet grilled cheese, a truck selling only Vegan dishes and of course, tacos. The movement has inspired several television shows and most recently the popular movie Chef.

At PacknWood, we recognize the importance of serving up sophisticated street food, which is why we’ve recently released our new Street Eats collection. Whether you’d like to pack up your gourmet bagel or find an innovative way to present French fries (because who doesn’t love French fries?), we have got you covered. Read on to find a recipe for a childhood favorite, Macaroni and Cheese, made with gnocchi, Gruyere, Swiss and Parmesan cheeses and served in our Kraft paper boat.

Once you finish eating the mac ‘n’ cheese, leave us a comment about your favorite street food or food truck!

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Gnocchi Mac and Cheese

Fills 4 Kraft paper boats

  • 1lb. gnocchi (homemade or store bought)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. AP Flour
  • 3/4 C Milk
  • 1 Tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 C Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 C Swiss cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 C Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Optional toppings: scallions, bacon, basil
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare the gnocchi according to package or recipe directions. Drain and place in a single-layer in a medium shallow baking dish.
  2. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Whisk in the flour until it thickens and then whisk in the milk and the Dijon mustard. Continue to whisk the mixture and cook until its reaches a slightly thick consistency (about 3-5 minutes).
  3. Combine the Gruyere and Swiss cheeses. Add in a handful at a time to the milk mixture, stirring and making sure it is completely melted before adding the next handful. Once all of the cheese is melted, season with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine the gnocchi and the sauce. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top evenly. Bake the gnocchi until the cheese is golden and bubbly (about 25 minutes).

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