A mixture of parmesan and ricotta cheeses makes dough that boil to perfect pillows before being tossed in a simple anchovy and tomato sauce.
I’ve been known to make my fair share of gnocchi, both the potato and other vegetable kind. This weekend, I set my sights on a ricotta version. Gnocchi, for those that aren’t familiar, are basically little Italian balls of dough made from cheeses, starchy vegetables, and flour. They’re eaten as the pasta dish (as in the first plate, before the meat or fish) in typical Italian meals.
The key to good gnocchi is using just enough flour to hold the dumpling together, but not over doing it. The less flour you can use, the lighter and fluffier your dumpling will be. Imagine biting into a little pillow of ricotta. That’s what these gnocchi taste like. Gnocchi are also surprisingly easy to make. In a single bowl, you’ll mix together the dough. You’ll roll them out on a floured surface into logs, then cut them to size. These dumplings get boiled in salty water until they float, and then they’re ready to eat.
I made a simple anchovy and tomato sauce to go along with these, but you can certainly get more creative. Some browned butter and sage or perhaps a pesto sauce would both go great with these.
- 4 cups ricotta
- ½ cup Parmesan, grated
- 1 cup chives, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 1 cup flour plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6-10 anchovies (optional, for vegetarian version)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ cup white wine
- 8 tomatoes, chopped
- In a large bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, chives, salt, and nutmeg. Mix well. Make a well in the middle and crack egg into center. Mix until fully combined.
- Add flour and mix until dough thickens. Divide roughly into six sections.
- Generously flour a cutting board or other surface. Roll each of the six sections into a log, about 1 to 1½ inches thick. If log is sticking to surface, dust with more flour.
- Cut logs into 1 inch pieces. Place pieces, cut side down, onto a separate floured surface and press down on them with a fork to shape.
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil. Add gnocchi (in batches if crowded), and cook until they float for 1-2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a large bowl or plate.
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add anchovies and cook until they start to break down, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in garlic cloves and cook until fragrant. Pour in white wine and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add tomatoes, stir well, and reduce heat. Cook until sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes.
- Once sauce is ready, you can add gnocchi into the pan if they need to be reheated or else pour sauce on top of gnocchi.