Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Simple Ricotta Gnocchi

Simple Ricotta Gnocchi

One of my goals this year is to make homemade pasta from scratch. While I guess technically that's exactly what I did here I'm not quite ready to mark through that item. There are too many other pastas to create by hand, and besides, can I really consider myself a pasta-maker before I've bought a pasta roller? I think not! (All the while, my banker shakes his head in sad amazement.)

I have to admit, however, that this may be the best gnocchi I've ever eaten, which is saying a lot because if there is one cuisine we love to eat in this house it's Italian. That's not to say that every bite of gnocchi I've ever eaten was phenomenal. I'll never forget the time I ordered ricotta gnocchi at a famed Italian restaurant; it was the worst bite of food I've ever put in my mouth. It was like glue! No amount of sauce made it palatable. And it honestly scared me away from cheese-based dumplings for a long time. I'm happy to say that fear has been set aside with this recipe.

Simple Ricotta Gnocchi

You know how sometimes a memory can make a food seem more wonderful? Well, not only is this recipe great, but Brad actually helped me make it. I love it when he helps me in the kitchen; it's nice to share your passion with someone! I think he enjoyed it, too, because let's face it - rolling gnocchi is fun! I think it would be a great meal to make with your kids, and it could become a family favorite, a perfect weekend meal. I was amazed at how quickly it came together and then how great it tasted. We did warm up a bowl of red sauce for dipping, but I have to admit that I preferred my gnocchi with a simple slick of melted butter and a sprinkle of parmesan. Perfection.

Just one word of advice: Do yourself a favor and double the recipe. You'll thank me in the end.

Simple Ricotta Gnocchi

Simple Ricotta Gnocchi

Adapted from Everyday Food

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I think these gnocchi would be an excellent appetizer, served on tiny skewers alongside an antipasti platter, and with a crisp, chilled, white wine. (I might even eat them for breakfast, too, with an egg broken over the top, but we'll just keep that a secret in case someone out there thinks me odd.)

Ingredients
1.5 cups Ricotta
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for sprinkling
1 egg yolk
1.5 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions
1. In a large bowl stir ricotta, parmesan, yolk, zest and salt until well-mixed. Sift 1/2 cup of flour over cheese mixture and gently stir. Turn mixture out onto floured surface and sift remaining 1/2 cup of flour over the top. Gently incorporate the flour into the dough with your hands, and lightly knead it just until dough comes together. (You don't want to overwork the dough or you'll make the gnocchi tough.)
2. Divide the dough into four equal pieces, and roll each piece into a log about 20 inches long. Cut logs into half-inch pieces. Using a fork, roll each piece of dough from the back of the fork to the tips, using your thumb. Set aside until all logs have been cut, and all pieces of dough have been rolled.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop gnocchi in water, and cook until they plump up and float to the top, about 2 minutes. Drain well and shake off excess water.
4. Melt two tablespoons of butter in large pan, over medium heat. Add dumplings and cook on one side until golden brown, about six minutes. Add another tablespoon of butter to pan and toss gnocchi to coat. Transfer to serving bowls and sprinkle with more cheese. Serve hot, and alongside red sauce, if desired.