Today I tried making ricotta gnocchi for the first time. For some reason, I rarely make gnocchi at all, and I thought this could be a fun way to start again.
It was a very easy recipe (although some of the dumplings came out a little too big) and it tasted really good.
Here’s what I did.
What you need
You don’t need much to make some good ricotta gnocchi. The ingredients are:
- ricotta, of course;
- all-purpose flour;
- grated parmesan cheese;
- a pinch of salt;
- nutmeg powder.
… and, naturally, some salted water to cook the gnocchi.
For the dressing, I simply sauteed some date tomatoes with olive oil in a saucepan, and added some parmesan flakes.
Here’s what you have to do.
Step 1: Put the ricotta cheese in a bowl and mix it with a fork to soften it. After that add the parmesan, egg, salt and nutmeg. Mix well until the mixture is smooth.
Step 2: Add the flour a little at a time, and mix with your hands until you get a dough ball.
Step 3: Move the dough ball to a floured work surface, and make strings out of it, about 1-inch thick.
Step 4: Cut out the gnocchi with a knife or dough cutter. They don’t need to be the same size and shape, but don’t make them too big.
After that, press their top lightly with a fork. It will give them a ridged side that will allow them to better hold any sauces (although this recipe does not call for it).
Step 5: Wash your date tomatoes, cut them into small pieces and toss them in a saucepan with a little extra virgin olive oil.
Step 6: Meanwhile, fill 3/4 of a pot with lukewarm water and bring it to a boil. After that, add a handful of coarse salt, wait another minute, and add your gnocchi.
As with homemade ravioli, there is no specific cooking time. When the gnocchi are ready, you will see them rise to the surface of the water. The process should take less than 5 minutes.
Step 7: When the gnocchi are ready, drain them and put them in a bowl along with some parmesan flakes. After that, add the contents of the saucepan and mix well. If you wish, you can add some fresh herbs such as basil or parsley. Garnish with some more parmesan flakes, and you’re good to go.
How to store ricotta gnocchi
Generally speaking, any kind of gnocchi should be consumed within 24 hours. Two days, tops. And in this case, you have to consider that there is another short-life ingredient in the equation.
In my opinion, the best thing to do is to make them and eat them right away. But if you’re cooking for a crowd and want to make them, let’s say, the night before, you can put your ricotta gnocchi on a floured tray, cover them with a cloth and keep them in the fridge.
Ricotta Gnocchi Tips and Tricks
Making homemade ricotta gnocchi may seem daunting, but with these tips and tricks, you’ll be a gnocchi-making pro in no time!
Choose High-Quality Ricotta
The quality of ricotta cheese will significantly affect the flavor and texture of your gnocchi. Go for fresh, whole-milk ricotta whenever possible. If your ricotta seems too wet, drain it through a cheesecloth before using.
Proper Flour Measurements
Flour can compact as it sits, so fluff it up with a fork before measuring. Alternatively, consider weighing the flour for the most accurate measurement.
While it might be tempting to ensure everything is thoroughly mixed, overmixing can make the dough tough. Mix until just combined for the lightest, most tender gnocchi.
Test a Piece
Before shaping all of your gnocchi, boil one or two pieces as a test. If they disintegrate, your dough might need more flour. If they’re too tough, you may have worked the dough too much.
When rolling your gnocchi, a light touch is key. Too much pressure can lead to dense, heavy gnocchi.
The Fork Technique
Using a fork to create ridges isn’t just for appearance; it also helps the gnocchi hold sauce better. However, this is optional. If you’re in a hurry, smooth gnocchi will still be delicious.
The Importance of Salted Water
Always salt your boiling water generously; this is your only chance to season the gnocchi itself. Aim for water as salty as the sea.
Don’t Overcrowd the Pot
Boil gnocchi in batches to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.
The Float Test
You’ll know your gnocchi are done when they float to the surface of the boiling water. Once they float, give them another 10-20 seconds before removing them.
If you’re not serving your gnocchi immediately, consider plunging them into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain and toss them in a little olive oil before storing.
Freeze for Later
Uncooked gnocchi can be frozen for future meals. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet, freeze until solid, and then transfer to a resealable plastic bag.
Choose a sauce that complements the delicate flavors of ricotta gnocchi. A simple butter and sage sauce or a light tomato sauce often work well.
What to Serve with Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi
Ricotta gnocchi are soft, delicate, and richly flavorful, making them a versatile base for a variety of complementary dishes. Whether you’re aiming for a casual meal or a fine dining experience, here are some recommendations on what to serve alongside your homemade ricotta gnocchi.
Simple Green Salad
A light and refreshing salad with a citrus or vinaigrette dressing can balance the richness of the gnocchi. Consider arugula, baby spinach, or mixed greens garnished with a sprinkle of Parmesan or toasted nuts.
Seasonal roasted vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or asparagus can add color and nutritional value to your meal without overwhelming the gnocchi’s subtle flavors.
Crispy garlic bread serves as a delightful contrast to the soft gnocchi, and it’s great for mopping up any leftover sauce on your plate.
Italian Sausage or Grilled Chicken
For a protein-packed meal, you can serve your gnocchi with Italian sausage or a grilled chicken breast. Both proteins are versatile enough to match with various sauces you might use for the gnocchi.
Lighter seafood options like grilled shrimp or seared scallops can also pair well, particularly if you’re using a butter or lemon-based sauce with the gnocchi.
Choose a crisp, light white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc to complement the creamy texture and rich flavors of the ricotta gnocchi.
Minestrone or Vegetable Soup
If you’re looking to create a full Italian dining experience, consider starting the meal with a hearty Minestrone or a light vegetable soup.
A selection of Italian cheeses, along with some fresh fruit and crackers, can serve as an excellent appetizer or even a post-meal cheese course.
Fresh Fruit Desserts
End the meal on a refreshing note with fruit-based desserts like a berry sorbet, lemon tart, or a simple fruit salad.
Coffee or Espresso
To round off your Italian feast, serve some strong coffee or espresso. This will help balance the richness of the meal and provide a classic end to your dining experience.Print