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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ricotta Gnocchi with Spring Vegetables

I've never made potato gnocchi. But ricotta gnocchi, sweet potato gnocchi, and butternut squash gnocchi are delicious.

(I'm trying to see how many different kinds of gnocchi I can make before caving and making potato ones - you know, real gnocchi - just to be difficult.)

Rather than requiring precooking and ricing and other annoying steps, these ricotta gnocchi just require adding flour to a container of ricotta and mixing until the consistency feels right. Then you make little gnocchi logs, cut them into individual gnocchi, and - since we're being lazy anyway - skip the boiling water and just pan-fry them in butter with a bunch of seasonal veggies.

Don't like ricotta? These really don't taste like ricotta once you stir flour and herbs into them. They're just fluffy balls of deliciousness.

Try them, and you'll see why I'm not too driven to make "real" gnocchi.

Herbed Ricotta Gnocchi with Spring Vegetables
Ricotta Gnocchi adapted from Steamy Kitchen, who provides fantastic step-by-step photos, and Spring Vegetables inspired by Smitten Kitchen

2 cups whole milk ricotta
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt)
1 1/2 to 2 cups all purpose flour
1 to 2 tablespoons herbs - I used dried tarragon, thyme, basil, and oregano
2 tablespoons butter
Your choice of seasonal vegetables (I used 1 bunch of chopped lacinato kale, 1 chopped leek, 1 bunch asparagus sliced thinly on the diagonal, about 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1 cup frozen corn kernels, and 1 cup frozen peas)

1. Combine ricotta, zest, salt, and herbs in large bowl. Mix well. Add 1 cup flour. Knead well, and add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until you have a dough that you can shape with your hands.

2. Roll gnocchi into long logs, each about an inch in diameter. Cut each log into sections about an inch long.

3. Chop your veggies into bite-sized pieces.

4. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and saute the gnocchi in a single layer, in multiple batches if necessary.

5. Move the gnocchi to a plate and saute your vegetables, starting with the ones that will need the longest saute times. I sauteed my leeks for a few minutes before adding the asparagus, then the kale. Then I added the gnocchi back in along with the tomatoes, corn, and peas, just to warm everything up before serving.

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