Ricotta Gnocchi

Now that I’ve tried my hand at making pasta at home rather than buying it (https://whatfoodimade.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/home-made-pasta/), I’m ready to attempt making another type of pasta… gnocchi. None of the vacuum packed store varieties are ever as nice as the gnocchi I’m served in restaurants and I think the reason why is because they make their own.

Gnocchi should be light and pillowy and if you are patient and have the time to put the ridges on them, they’ll be better able to hold whatever sauce you serve with them. If this recipe makes too much pasta for you, they freeze well. They are a great improvement over store bought.

This is what happens.
Get the ricotta cheese.

Ricotta cheese.

Ricotta cheese.

Mix the ricotta with the egg.

Add egg to the ricotta cheese.

Add egg to the ricotta cheese.

Then add the olive oil.

Add olive oil.

Add olive oil.

And Parmesan cheese too.

Add the Parmesan cheese to the ricotta, egg and olive oil.

Add the Parmesan cheese to the ricotta, egg and olive oil.

Put some nutmeg in.

Freshly grated nutmeg.

Freshly grated nutmeg.

Lastly, the flour is added.

Add the flour.

Add the flour.

All that, kneaded just a bit to pull the dough into a ball.

Gnocchi dough.

Gnocchi dough.

The dough is rolled out into thumb-thick ropes.

Thick strands of pasta.

Thick strands of pasta.

Which are then chopped into 1-inch pieces.

Dough pieces.

Dough pieces.

If you are patient, these pieces can be rolled onto the tines of a fork.

Gnocchi.

Gnocchi.

If you are not so patient, they’ll look like this.

Smooth gnocchi.

Smooth gnocchi.

Then, cook them.
Bring salted water to the boil.

Boiling, salted water.

Boiling, salted water.

Drop gnocchi in.

Gnocchi go into the boiling water.

Gnocchi go into the boiling water.

When they rise to the top, they’re done.

Cooked gnocchi.

Cooked gnocchi.

You can scoop them out with a wire skimmer or a sieve.

Scooping out cooked gnocchi.

Scooping out cooked gnocchi.

The recipe is here:
http://www.food52.com/recipes/9460_grandma_dilauras_italian_ricotta_gnocchi

Grandma DiLaura’s Italian Ricotta Gnocchi
Serves 4

1 pound fresh whole milk ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
2 cups flour, sifted, plus extra for rolling dough

Add egg to ricotta cheese and oil and mix thoroughly.

Add grated Parmesan cheese to mixture and sprinkle with nutmeg to taste.

Add sifted flour a little at a time and continue to mix thoroughly until dough comes together.

Dump onto generously floured surface and work with hands to bring together into a smooth ball. Add more flour as necessary until dough is smooth and no longer sticks to your hands.

Cut off slices of dough like cutting a loaf of bread and roll into ropes thumb size thick by spreading hands and fingers and rolling from centre out to each edge of the rope.

Line one rope parallel to another and cut 2 at a time into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece off the back of a fork to make imprints that will help hold the sauce.

Transfer gnocchi pieces to a lightly floured or non-stick baking sheet so they don’t stick together and put in the freezer while making the rest of batch. If you plan to save any gnocchi for future use, allow them to freeze entirely on the baking sheet before storing in a ziplock bag to prevent sticking together.

When ready to prepare, bring a large stockpot of generously salted water to a boil.

Add gnocchi to boiling water and gently stir once with a wooden spoon to create movement and prevent gnocchi from sticking to the bottom. As gnocchi rise to the top (a sign they are done cooking) scoop them out with a mesh strainer or a bamboo wire skimmer and immediately place in serving bowl shaking off excess water.

Scoop some sauce on top of each layer of gnocchi as they are placed in the bowl to eliminate the need to stir them with sauce in the end and risk damaging or smashing the pasta. Generously grate Parmesan over the top and serve.

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