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Ricotta Gnocchi: Little Dumplings of Goodness

Sara
Posted by Sara on Jan 12, 2016

A couple of weeks ago my daughter, Delilah, really wanted to make ravioli from scratch (a blog post for the future!), so the whole family got together and busted out some dough and made a ricotta filling. It was a really fun process that resulted in an incredibly delicious dinner.

The only problem was that we were left with extra ricotta cheese. Normally, the cheese would sit in the back of my fridge and eventually become a science project that would provoke “ewww” and “gross” from my kids, but I wanted this time to be different. I was determined to make the ricotta cheese go out on a high note, and that’s how my idea to make ricotta gnocchi was born.

gnocchi

There are many types of gnocchi out there, including potato (here’s my blog all about potato gnocchi), spinach, butternut squash, beet, cauliflower, Parisian and semolina. Ricotta is one of my favorites because it’s very easy to make, and it’s a very fun family activity. Warning: Making this with kids will not only result in a mess, but add about 40 minutes to your prep time… so start early!

To make the dough you simply whisk together your ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and eggs.

gnocchiYou then add the flour and mix the dough until it just comes together. It’s okay if it’s not perfectly smooth. You don’t want to over mix the dough, or it will get tough.

gnocchiNext, cut the dough ball into fist-sized pieces and roll each one out into one-inch thick ropes on a floured surface. Then cut them cross wise into little pillows.

gnocchiMy son, Jake, got super involved in the process of cutting the ropes into pillows, so we ended up with varying sizes of dumplings! There was definitely room for creative interpretation.

gnocchiI did end up making a little change to the recipe below, though. After I boiled the gnocchi I then transferred them to a hot, buttered nonstick pan, and proceeded to saute them until they were golden brown and crisp on the outside. This process adds a really nice textural balance to the dish. Just be sure you don’t overcrowd your pan. Take your time and do this step in batches.

gnocchiI transferred the sautéed gnocchi batch by batch to a baking dish, and topped them with tomato sauce, grated parmesan cheese, and some crumbles of fresh goat cheese. Into a 400˚ oven they went, and baked until the sauce was bubbly and the cheese had melted.

gnocchiWe served our gnocchi with roasted acorn squash, because that’s what we had around, but any vegetable side would be great.

Herbed Ricotta Gnocchi

Yield: 4 servings

Active time: 30 minutes

Start to finish: 30 minutes

1 egg                                                                           

1 egg yolk                                                        

6 ounces whole milk ricotta                                                        

1 tablespoon thyme, rough chopped

1/4 cup parsley, rough chopped

3/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated                          

3/4 cup all-purpose flour                                                

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground                                          

Salt and pepper to taste                                                 

  1. Combine egg, yolk, ricotta, thyme and parsley in a large mixing bowl and whisk until completely smooth. Add parmesan cheese, and fold in with a spatula.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and then fold into ricotta mixture just until combined.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half and cover with a dry towel.
  4. Roll half of the dough into long, thin logs, 1/2-inch in diameter; keep the unused dough covered. Cut logs into bite-size pieces. Dust with flour and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and dusted with flour.
  5. At this point, you may refrigerate gnocchi to use later the same day; or freeze them in a single layer, then transfer to a sealable bag once frozen. They’ll keep in the freezer for up to two months.
  6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Boil the gnocchi until they are cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Drain well, toss with sauce, and top with extra grated parmesan cheese.
If you want to dive a little deeper into the world of gnocchi, then come to The Chopping Block's Know Your Gnocchi cooking class this February at the Merchandise Mart. What better dish to make on a cold winter’s night?

 

 

Topics: gnocchi, Italian, Recipes

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