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Tuesday
Oct162012

a new favourite - ricotta gnocchi

that’s not my photo - sadly my ricotta gnocchi look far less elegant. and given how good this recipe is, and quite how smitten i am by these ricotta gnocchi, i wanted to show you them in all their glory to encourage you to try them.

i’ve made ricotta gnocchi before and described them as “incredibly rich, reminding me of a cheese soufflé. they are beautifully light and entirely unlike potato gnocchi” which is quite different to this new version. the originals were a mix of ricotta, eggs, butter and flavourings, whereas this recipe by suzanne goin uses flour as well as eggs, which gives the gnocchi a firmer texture.

the flavour is subtle, just coming from the seasoned mix which means you can pair them with any sauce you fancy but in future i think i will also experiment with flavouring the gnocchi themselves, perhaps with herbs, strong cheese, finely chopped sundried tomatos or porcini powder.

the original recipe, pictured above, serves the gnocchi with wild mushrooms and sweetcorn. of the different versions i’ve made (three in the last month!) i was least keen on this but that is largely down to me not being a big fan of corn. my favourite was a courgette and pancetta mix, flavoured with the same shallots, thyme and sage which the original recipe uses. i also enjoyed them with a simple tomato and basil sauce.

do give them a try, as i said, i’m smitten and now i know they can be frozen i am looking forward to making a big batch for the freezer so we can have them as a quick mid-week supper on a regular basis.

suzanne goin’s ricotta gnocchi with chanterelles, sweet corn, and sage brown butter (serves 6)

75g fresh breadcrumbs

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

350g chanterelles, cleaned

1 tablespoon thyme leaves, divided

1 tablespoon sliced sage leaves

fresh corn kernels from 4 ears (c400g)

80g diced shallots

1 recipe ricotta gnocchi, blanched (recipe follows)

a large handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

freshly ground black pepper

preheat the oven to 190c. toss the breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. spread them on a baking sheet, and toast for 8-10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown.

if the mushrooms are big, tear them into bite-size pieces.

heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and heat another minute. swirl in 1 tablespoon of butter, and when it foams, add the mushrooms, half the thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a healthy pinch of pepper. sauté the mushrooms about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they're tender and a little crispy. don't be tempted to move them around in the pan too much in the beginning; let them sear a little before stirring. transfer the cooked mushrooms to a platter.

return the pan to the stove, and heat on high for 1 minute. add the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter to the pan, and cook a minute or two, until the butter starts to brown. add the sage, let it sizzle, and then add the corn, shallots, remaining 1/2 tablespoon of thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and some freshly ground black pepper. sauté quickly tossing the corn in the hot butter for about 2 minutes, until the corn is just tender. add the gnocchi and toss well to coat with the corn and brown butter. season with 1 teaspoon salt, and add the mushrooms. toss to combine, and heat the mushrooms through. add the parsley. arrange the gnocchi on a large platter, and shower the breadcrumbs over the top. 

ricotta gnocchi

2 extra-large eggs

275g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

1 ¾ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

450g whole milk ricotta, drained if wet

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

whisk the eggs together in a small bowl.

place the flour, salt, pepper and ricotta in a large mixing bowl. with a dinner knife in each hand, cut the ricotta into the flour (i just use one knife). when the flour and ricotta are combined, make a well in the centre and pour in the eggs. using a fork, and starting in the middle of the mixture, incorporate the eggs into the flour and ricotta. knead the dough with your hands briefly, just to bring it together (be careful not to over mix it). shape the dough into a ball, and place it on a lightly floured cutting board. cut the ball into four pieces, and cover with a clean kitchen towel.

bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.

one by one, take each piece of dough out from underneath the towel, cut it in half, and roll it into a 3/4-inch thick rope on a lightly floured cutting board (the amount of flour is important  - if you have too much the dough will be difficult to roll, if there is too little it will stick). cut the ropes into 1 inch long pieces (i think this is too big so perhaps cut one piece and shape it to see what you think – mine are usually 1cm pieces), and sprinkle a little flour over them. using your thumb, roll each piece of dough over the back of the tines of a fork, leaving an indentation of your thumb on one side and the markings from the fork on the other (i just cannot mange this so tend to use a fork to press down lightly on each piece of gnocchi and then when i pick it up i pinch the ends of the smooth side together, creating a shape like a “c” with the fork markings on the outside of the shape).

this is the stage at which you can freeze them – lie the gnocchi out on a tray and when they have frozen tip them into a bag.

plunge the gnocchi into the boiling water in batches (they can be added from frozen. once they rise to the surface, cook them for 1 minute more. use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a baking sheet or platter. drizzle the cooked gnocchi with the olive oil, and toss to coat them well.

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