Friday, September 2, 2011

Ricotta gnocchi

A lovely way to use up the rest of the fresh ricotta, plus some farmers market basil and tomatoes for bonus points. They held together beautifully while staying lighter and fluffier than your average storebought potato gnocchi. Holy dairyfat though—this is pretty much (deliciously flavored) cheese and butter on a plate by the time you're done. 6-8 slightly-larger-than-tablespoon-sized gnocchi makes a totally reasonable serving size, and this recipe makes 4 of those servings.

2 larger-than-fist-sized tomatoes, chopped
1/2 onion, peeled
3 T butter
salt to taste

Make the sauce by putting the ingredients in a saucepan and letting simmer for 45 min to an hour, stirring occasionally. When it's as thick and smooth as you want it, remove the onion and use.

2 c homemade ricotta, very well drained
1 egg + 1 extra white
1/4 c finely grated Parrano cheese
1/4 c finely sliced basil
1/4-1/2 c flour
salt to taste
extra flour and boiling water

Make the gnocchi by beating together all of the ingredients very well, whipping the ricotta separately first and adding the flour last. You want to add the smallest amount of flour that allows the gnocchi to not fall apart when you boil them, and mine held together with zero problems with 1/2 c flour—you could probably get away with less.

Start a pot of salted water simmering and put a generous layer of flour in a 9x13 pan or other high-sided flat container. Scoop out a single gnocchi-sized spoonful of dough with a spoon and use your finger to push the lump into the bed of flour. Jiggle the pan to flour all the sides of the gnocchi, flipping it with your finger if needed. Toss the gnocchi between your palms to smooth out the shape and shake off excess flour, then place somewhere relatively nonstick (like a plastic cutting board) until the water boils. Drop the first gnocchi into the water and adjust the water to a slow simmer. Simmer for a few (2-5) minutes after the gnocchi floats to the surface, and taste. Adjust seasonings in the dough if needed (and if the gnocchi held together and is ready for production), and/or add more flour if your gnocchi fell apart (in which case do another test run before shaping the rest of the dough).

When you have gnocchi that can survive cooking, use the same procedure to shape the rest of the dough, then cook only as many as you will eat now (you can freeze the rest). Toss the just-boiled gnocchi with the sauce (which should be nice and thick by now) and eat with Laura while she tells Burning Man stories.

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