Friday, December 23, 2011

Ricotta Gnocchi with Chives

This recipe has been bookmarked on my computer for so long it's not even funny. The inspiration came to me months ago when I went to the store and actually bought pre-made gnocchi. For those who do not know, gnocchi are little dumplings hailing from Italy and typically served in place of pasta. Traditionally, gnocchi are made from a potato-based dough however I decided to make mine using ricotta cheese. I did this primarily for two reasons: I do not own a potato ricer, the tool used to mash the potatoes into the proper consistency for making the dough, and I had read online that it is more difficult to make gnocchi for the first time using potatoes without them feeling too heavy. Therefore I decided to proceed with the ricotta cheese because I wanted an easier and tastier product. It turns out that what I made is actually called gnudi, as I learned from watching Iron Chef America the next night on Food Network.

Now there are certain kitchen gadgets that I own, such as a zester, a pizza stone, a cookie scoop, but I do not own a gnocchi board and I don't particularly feel like investing in one either. So of course I was thrilled when I found a technique online that allowed me to create the well-known ridges in my gnocchi without the use of a gnocchi board. However when I started to make the actual gnocchi, the extra step of making the ridges started to seem pointless to me because you could hardly see them and it didn't enhance the taste in any way. In order to save time I decided to skip that step and simply cut the rope of dough into little pieces.

In the end, I have to admit, that the dozen or so gnocchi that had the ridges in them did look more appealing. Although they tasted the same, once in the boiling water the gnocchi puffed up and the ridges became more prominent. In the future, I think I will add the ridges if I have time or am concerned about the presentation, otherwise I will skip that step like I did this time. As for the taste...they were delicious! Everyone in the family enjoyed them and I think the chives in particular added a nice flavor. To finish off the Italian meal, I made the gnocchi alongside my chicken parmesan and I used my recipe for pizza sauce to make a nice marinara for both dishes.

Ricotta Gnocchi with Chives
  • 1 lb ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup chives, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2-2 cups flour
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, egg, and olive oil until smooth.
  2. Stir in the Parmesan, salt, and chives.
  3. Stir in the flour a little at a time until a soft dough starts to come together into a ball. Try not to add too much flour otherwise the gnocchi will feel heavy. One and a half cups should be enough to create the dough.
  4. Tear off chunks of the dough and roll into ropes about the thickness of your thumb on a lightly floured surface.
  5. Cut the ropes into 1" long pieces and roll each piece on the back of a fork to create the ridges. Place the finished gnocchi onto a parchment-lined baking tray in a single layer. Refrigerate until ready to cook. 
  6. Once ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently add the gnocchi and stir around. Once they float to the surface they are ready. Spoon them out and serve on a plate lightly drizzled in olive oil. 
Note: The gnocchi can also be frozen in a single layer on the baking sheet then transferred to a freezer bag with a seal. Once ready to cook they do not have to be defrosted, simply cook as you would fresh gnocchi.

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