Saturday, July 12, 2014

ricotta gnocchi

Ricotta gnocchi. 

Doesn't it just sound super schmancy?

When I was in Italy with my family last month, one of our mornings included a cooking class at a local restaurant. After learning about the chef's philosophy about using homegrown ingredients and touring the farm on the property, we made our way to the kitchen to cook. 

Side note: I am still trying to get over the fact that the clover we tried on the farm tasted like cucumber. I mean, it's a flower kind of. Talk about mind blown. 

When you hear "ricotta gnocchi", you might think " potato gnocchi with ricotta sauce" or something similar. In actuality, it's gnocchi made of cheese. I know, I know. Crazy talk! But it worked, it was easy, and it was delicious to boot!


See? Looks totally normal. 

The beauty of making gnocchi with ricotta instead of potato is that you're not contending with the starches in the potato, trying to beat out the sticky guminess as you perfect your dough and shape the pasta. And don't worry, the pasta doesn't taste like cheese. 

My favorite prep for this pasta is to throw together a pesto and toss it all together in a pan for a minute or two to get everything nice and saucy. Simple, delicious, and because it's green it's healthy, right? 


Ricotta Gnocchi (serves 3-4)

50 grams flour (pasta flour is preferred, but AP will work if you sift it first), plus extra for dusting and in case you need more for dough consistency
250 grams ricotta, strained
1 egg yolk (optional)

In a medium bowl, mix flour into ricotta in stages to help avoid lumps. Add the egg yolk if you want to add color to make the gnocchi look closer to potato gnocchi. The dough should be slightly tacky, but not sticking to your hands sticky. Once it's reached this consistency turn it onto a floured surface. Roll it into a log (or multiple logs, depending on space constraints) about .75"-1" in diameter. Cut the log into .5"-.75" pieces (basically you're looking for gnocchi-sized pieces here, no need to get out the ruler!). Press each piece into the back of a fork and roll it into a curl, if you want the ridged look. The benefit of the ridges is they hold more sauce! Everyone loves sauce. As you're rolling out the pasta, make sure to flour as necessary. Place each gnocchi on a floured plate or in a floured bowl, and as you need to layer the pieces make sure to flour as you go. You don't want them to stick together, and the extra flour won't affect the finished product. 

While you're rolling out the dough, get a pot of salted water boiling. Turn it down to a low boil when you're ready to drop the pasta in so you don't scald youself! Carefully drop the gnocchi into the water and cook about 1-2 minutes, until the pasta floats to the top. Remove them piece by piece as they're ready, and drop into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. At this point you can store the pasta until you're ready to make your meal. 

To reheat, you can either cook again in boiling water until the gnocchi float, or you can just toss into a pan with your sauce of choice for a couple minutes, until hot. Buon appetito!

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