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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Gnocchi


After reading this post on delicious:days, I felt inspired.

Gnocchi (pronounced: nyo-key) are Italian dumplings. Traditionally they are made with potato; a complicated, time consuming process. These Ricotta Gnocchi are quick and satisfying. Served with a speedy tomato-basil sauce, you can't go wrong.

Ricotta Gnocchi

Ingredients:
16 oz. ricotta cheese
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped
1 generous pinch salt
1 generous pinch pepper
1 c. grated parmesan
2 c. flour (or as needed)

Directions:
Discard any excess liquid that the Ricotta's packaging may contain, then add Ricotta cheese, eggs and yolks, salt, basil and freshly grated Parmigiano into a large bowl. Mix well with a spoon.
Add the flour and stir in briefly, just until combined - the dough will still be quite sticky. (You can add more flour, but remember that the more flour you use, the denser the gnocchi will be. And you want them to be as light & fluffy as possible, with a velvet-like texture.)
Forming these gnocchi is the slightly tricky step. You can refrigerate overnight and then shape these, but if you can work with the dough the same day, that would be best. This is the technique that works best for me: Generously flour a board, take a big tablespoon of the dough and scoop it onto the board. It gets dusted with flour (dust your hands generously, too!), before rolling it into a finger-thick roll.
Cut it into little pillows (stick the knife's blade into the flour to prevent it from sticking to the dough). Then place each gnoccho (that's how you say just one, gnocchi is plural) on a floured board or parchment paper lined baking tray. Continue quickly with the next step, otherwise they will get soggy and stick to the paper/board anyway.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and reduce heat until the water bubbles lightly. Add the gnocchi and stir once, so they don't stick to the bottom - then let cook until they start floating on top. Depending on their size this may take 2 to 4 minutes.
Take out with a skimmer and serve immediately.

Tomato Basil Sauce
Ingredients:
1, 24 oz. can crushed San Marzano tomatoes (I could find these in my regular grocery store, but you can also go to an Italian specialty store)
2 Tbsp. prepared basil pesto
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat tomatoes over medium heat until they have thickened a bit. (How thick you make it just depends on your preference. I don't let mine thicken too much.) Break up any larger chunks of tomato with the back of your wooden spoon. Stir in pesto, season as you like with salt and pepper, (add more pesto, if you'r so inclinied) and let heat through. Serve. Leftovers keep about one week in the fridge or three months in the freezer.

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