Fresh Ricotta Gnocchi

You may have noticed this from previous posts, or maybe not, but Adam is the cook in our house.  I enjoy baking, but when it comes to meal planning and cooking, it’s 85% Adam.  He gets a lot of ideas  from the Serious Eats site and often emails them to me with “will you eat this?” (I’m a bit of a picky eater.  A bit is an understatement.)

My initial reaction to this one was “Umm, ricotta gnocchi?  I don’t know..”  I love gnocchi but I’m not really a big fan of ricotta.  I was picturing these gritty little slimy cheese things.  I know, super appetizing, right?  Adam really wanted to try it though, so he made it for dinner last week and I was pleasantly surprised!  So much so that we made it again on Sunday when we had some friends over for dinner (they all loved it too).

ricotta gnocchi

Ingredients

12 ounces best quality ricotta cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
4 to 6 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Semolina flour, for dusting
2 cups your favorite marinara sauce (we used our favorite red sauce)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Minced fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, or chives

Directions

Line a large plate with three layers of paper towels or a clean dish towel. Transfer ricotta directly to paper towels and spread with a rubber spatula. Place another triple layer of paper towels or a clean dish towel on top and press down firmly with the palms of your hands to blot excess moisture. Peel off upper paper towels.

Place a large bowl on a scale and zero the scale. Scrape ricotta into bowl to weigh. Remove excess ricotta to leave exactly 8 ounces. Reserve excess ricotta for another use. Add Parmesan, 3 1/2 ounces of flour, whole egg, and egg yolk to bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Combine mixture with a rubber spatula. It should be sticky but not loose. Add flour a tablespoon at a time if it is still very moist after kneading with the spatula for 1 minute.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and dust the top with flour. Flatten into a 4- to 6-inch disk and cut into quarters using a bench scraper. Working one piece at a time, roll dough into a log about 6 inches long, dusting with flour as necessary. Split log in half and roll each half into a log about 12 inches long and 3/4-inch wide. You should end up with 8 logs.

Using your bench scraper, cut each log into 8 to 10 gnocchi. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet dusted in semolina flour. Shake to lightly coat gnocchi and prevent sticking. At this point, gnocchi can be frozen. Transfer baking sheet to freezer until gnocchi are completely frozen, about 30 minutes. Transfer gnocchi to a zipper-lock freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Cook directly from frozen, adding a few minutes to cooking time.

To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat sauce in a separate saucepan until hot but not simmering. Add gnocchi to pot, stir gently, and cook until gnocchi float for 30 seconds, about 3 minutes total. Drain gnocchi, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water. Add gnocchi and 1/4 cup of cooking water to pot with sauce and bring to a hard boil, stirring gently. Add more pasta water to thin sauce to desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir in a big drizzle of olive oil and a handful of chopped fresh herbs. Transfer to a large serving plate. Sprinkle with more herbs and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with more olive oil. Serve immediately.

From Serious Eats.

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