Thursday, December 3, 2009

Delizioso Ricotta Gnocchi

Delizioso Ricotta Gnocchi!
 (pronounced NY-ah-kee)

Gnocchi is my savory comfort food - and in case you were wondering, plain oatmeal dressed up with cinnamon, apple pie spice, and maple syrup is my sweet comfort food :-)

Its a texture thing.
Gnocchi has a fluffy, chewy texture and is really filling. You can top this dish with virtually anything. I prefer marinara sauce but pesto, cheese, fresh tomato and basil, Alfredo sauce, or simply salt, pepper and butter would be very delicious.

Beyond the basics.
There are many variations of gnocchi - pumpkin, ricotta, mushroom, potato, sweet potato, purple potato etc. Since basic gnocchi has sort of a neutral flavor you can add herbs to the batter to make it more flavorful. One day I'd like to experiment and toss the cooked gnocchi in some cinnamon and butter. I'll let ya know how it goes.  Potato gnocchi is most traditional and sold in nearly every super market.  This was my first attempt at making gnocchi likewise it was also the first time I have ever tasted ricotta gnocchi - so I don't have anything to compare this recipe to but I think I still prefer potato gnocchi.  None the less this was quick and really satisfying.. both tasty and filling.

You can do it too.
This recipe is simple but delicate. I found it on  Italian Food Forever (via - I am more than just suggesting you visit this website - I am flat out telling you to- even if you don't cook - you might just be inspired by all the beautiful foods!) She provides great step by step instructions and photos for your first time making gnocchi. She lists several tips and helpful hints. The finish product was not as light and fluffy as I like my gnocchi - but she mentions this process might take some perfecting.

All you need is:
(makes 4 servings)
  • 1 lb ricotta (technically this is 16oz, but of course ricotta is sold in 15 oz containers - just go with it - no need to buy a whole entire container of ricotta for one additional ounce, simply cut back on the flour by a couple of tbs.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour

    A note about ingredients:  
    The original recipe calls for full fat ricotta - I prefer to cook mostly with skim ingredients and since that's what I had on hand (left over from my Daring Bakers Cannolli Challenge) I used it instead.

    You can try using a blend of cheeses (Reggiano might be a good choice).

    You can also add some fresh or dry herbs. I thought my gnocchi was missing a little something - I might add some parsley or basil next time - maybe a teeny bit of garlic. Have fun with flavors!

    I actually made half this recipe - yes I halved the egg by scrambling it first and then splitting it - though the egg is a binding agent and should not effect your final product too much - its the flour you need to be careful with.

    Recipe Directions:

    1. Drain the ricotta for at least one hour - I drained mine over night. The less water the better. The gnocchi will me more dense as you continue to add flour. Since flour absorbs the moisture you want the ricotta to be as "dry" as possible.

    2. With a fork, mix egg, ricotta, and Parmesan cheese.

    3. At first add only 1 cup of the flour - until just blended.

    4. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Begin to gently work the dough, adding only enough additional flour until the dough is no longer too sticky.

    5. Taking about 1/4th of the dough begin to roll it into a long 1 inch thick log. Cut the log into 1 inch pieces and place them onto a slightly floured plate to prevent sticking.

    6. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil (fill the pot about 3/4 full).

    7. Add the gnocchi to boiling water and cook until they float to the top. A little less than 5 minutes. :))  (I love food that's done fast because when you're hungry even 5 minutes can seem entirely too long!)

    See how they are floating at the top??

     B u o n     A p p e t i t o ! 

    Nutritional Stats: (makes 4 servings)
    using part skim ricotta

    Calories 332, Fat 11.7g, Carbs 35.6g, Protein 19.9g
    Vitamin A 10%, Calcium 37%, Iron 14%

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