after taking much of the summer off, i’m back to cooking and blogging! i meant to make a grand entrance in early fall and wow you with all my fabulous autumnal recipes, but soon realized that i had a stack of tested recipes with no pictures to accompany them. i don’t know about you, but nothing bugs me more than reading about cooking and food with no pictures to look at. i love you all too much to have put you through that torture, so i am slowly working through my stack of culinary gems and snapping away as i cook.
fall is not only my favorite season because i can finally wear my boots and scarves again… i also love that the cool crisp air and bulky sweaters allow me to eat pasta and stews with reckless abandon! waistline, shmaistline! and when i think about fall pastas, gnocchi is the first one that springs to mind. it slowly shows up on the menus of our favorite restaurants in all its glorious forms, but making it at home can be a bit daunting for the home cook. traditional potato gnocchi, with all of its steps and temperamental ways, can trip up even the most seasoned chef. my ricotta gnocchi recipe is just the thing you need to look like a pro without breaking a sweat.
ricotta gnocchi (makes 4 servings)
1 16-ounce container whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup parmesan, finely grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tablespoon italian parsley, finely chopped
1 cup flour, you may need a bit more or less
set a strainer lined with a couple layers of cheese cloth over a bowl and strain the ricotta for an hour in the fridge or over-night.
using a wooden spoon, mix the strained ricotta, egg, cheese, salt, nutmeg and parsley in a large bowl. mix in half the flour and slowly add the other half until the dough comes together. it should be sticky but not cling to your fingers. let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. line a large baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. (make sure the baking sheet fits in your freezer)
on a floured cutting board, roll about a fourth of the dough into a thick rope, around 3/4-inch thick.
Using a sharp knife, cut the log into 3/4″ pieces. roll each gnocchi on the back of a fork with your thumb using gentle pressure and transfer them to the baking sheet. repeat with the rest of the dough and then transfer the baking sheet to the freezer. freeze until each gnocchi is individually frozen*. at this point you can put the gnocchi into a freezer bag and cook later (they will keep for about 1 month) or drop them into a large pot of boiling salted water and boil until they float to the the top. strain the gnocchi and add them directly to whatever sauce you plan to use**.
*i have found that freezing the gnocchi first produces a much better little dumpling and they never fall apart.
**i used marinara for my gnocchi, but a simple butter and sage sauce works great too.