My family adores home-made gnocchi. Traditionally made with potato, they can be a little time-consuming to make. Here is a very fast and easy recipe for times when you might be craving a gnocchi fix but are time poor. These might look exactly like potato gnocchi but are made with ricotta cheese. Light, fluffy and delicious they can be mixed, rolled and cooked in no time at all. This batch took a little over half an hour.
With a refrigerator full of freshly picked late season cherry tomatoes and fresh basil courtesy of my father’s Autumn garden, I served my little pillows of ricotta gnocchi with two simple sauces. A fresh vine ripened cherry tomato sauce and a basil pesto. Both are incredibly fast and easy to make and complement each other beautifully.
Of course regardless of whether they are made with potato or ricotta, all gnocchi are delicious served with a more traditional home-made bolognese sauce. If you prefer bolognese here is the link to my earlier recipe post The Secret Behind a Great Bolognese. It’s All About the Soffritto. I also wrote at length about making traditional potato gnocchi in a previous post Melt in your Mouth. Pillows of Air. Home-Made Potato Gnocchi With Bolognese. All the basic gnocchi making principles described in the post apply equally whether using potato or ricotta in your dough. To be honest, making gnocchi is like riding a bicycle. Once mastered they are very easy to make.
Whichever way you enjoy your gnocchi this recipe is well worth a try. My last words on the topic? Buon Appetito!
500g fresh ricotta
2 generous handfuls (about 2/3 cup) grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, plus a little extra to serve
2 large eggs, beaten
a good grating of fresh nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain flour, plus extra for dusting and rolling as required
STRAIN ricotta in a fine sieve over a bowl for 30 minutes to drain off any excess liquid.
PLACE drained ricotta in a bowl with grated cheese, eggs, nutmeg, white pepper and salt. Add flour and mix to form a dough.
KNEAD lightly, adding a little more flour as necessary until the dough is manageable and not too sticky and wet. Be careful not to overwork.
BREAK off quarter portions of the dough and roll into 1 – 2 cm diameter logs on a floured board. Cut into 3 cm lengths and indent each piece on a fork.
PLACE on a floured tray until ready to use. Continue this process until all the dough has been rolled, cut and shaped into gnocchi.
MEANWHILE bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil on high heat,
COOK gnocchi in two separate batches in the pan of simmering water. Remove with a slotted spoon one or two minutes after they float to the top.
DRAIN quickly on paper towels and transfer to a serving bowl. Toss through gently with the prepared sauce. Serve with a good sprinkling of parmesan or pecorino cheese.
A Fresh Vine Ripened Cherry Tomato Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced into paper thin slivers
2 punnets cherry tomatoes (scored, plunged in boiling water and peeled)
1/2 cup basil leaves, torn
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
HEAT oil on low in a medium sized, heavy based frypan.
ADD garlic and cook for a few minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. Do not allow to brown.
ADD tomatoes and basil. Cook until warmed through, then reduce to low and simmer for five minutes.
SEASON with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
SET aside until needed.
The pesto will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week if stored in a glass jar. Seal exposed surface of the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent oxidation.
50 fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, bruised
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
40 g pine nuts, toasted
25 g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
25 g pecorino cheese, freshly grated
Sea salt and pepper
PLACE basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil into the bowl of a food processor with a pinch of salt.
PULSE until finely chopped, but not pureed.
ADD parmesan and pecorino cheeses. Pulse once or twice to combine.
SEASON to taste, adding a further drizzle of olive oil if required to loosen the pesto.
SET aside until needed.