Recipe: Sformatino of Gorgonzola

Total time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Servings: 8

Note: From "Cooking by Hand" by Paul Bertolli. Potato starch is a gluten-free thickener available at health food stores.

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/2cup all-purpose flour

4 cups milk

1 cup (5 ounces) aged Italian Gorgonzola

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

7 egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 egg whites

2 large ripe, moderately acid tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)

1/2 teaspoon potato starch

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and stir over low heat. Add the milk all at once and whisk over moderate heat, bringing to a simmer, until the béchamel thickens and is smooth without lumps.

2. Crumble the Gorgonzola into the warm béchamel, stir to combine, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow the mixture to cool, then add the egg yolks.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold them into the cheese béchamel.

4. Butter 8 (4-ounce) ramekins well on all sides and fill them to just under the brim. Place the sformatini in a baking dish and pour in enough warm water to fill the dish halfway. Bake for 1 hour or until the tops are gently browned and a probe comes out clean.

5. While the sformatini are cooking, cut the tomatoes into a small, coarse dice. Place them in a pan and cook them quickly on high heat, only to soften them, about 2 minutes. Pass them immediately through the fine plate of a food mill to create a smooth and pourable purée. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Mix the potato starch with a little cold water (about 1 tablespoon) to make a thin slurry and whisk it into the hot tomato sauce. This will keep the tomato's liquid and pulp in emulsion and prevent it from separating at its pooled edges.

7. Remove the ramekins from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Run the edge of a sharp paring knife around the sides of the puddings. Holding each ramekin in one hand, carefully turn the sformatino out onto your other hand, and then place it browned-side-up on a warm plate. Spoon a little sauce around each portion.

Each serving: 280 calories; 12 grams protein; 15 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 19 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 231 mg. cholesterol; 611 mg. sodium.

Anacleto Rapping Los Angeles Times'The art of cooking consists largely of "watching" with all the senses.'

Paul Bertolli