Friday, June 13, 2014

Gnocchi di ricotta

This recipe was a cinch. It took no more than ten minutes to prepare and under three minutes to cook.
I served them with pesto, because I always keep some in the fridge for emergencies but - if you want to keep things simple - I think they would be great with a fresh, quick, summery tomato sauce and lots of basil or even just butter, sage and Parmesan cheese (and maybe a sprinkling of poppy seeds for extra crunch?).
If you are looking to make something a little fancier, these will taste great with pretty much anything. A tomato-based seafood sauce, a slow-cooked ragu, zucchini and saffron come to mind, but there is so much more you can do with them. Just be creative! 
Look at the concentration and tension in that little left hand!
Back to our dinner, or even further step back.
The fact is, my four year-old has been going through a bit of a phase  lately and has been acting up a little, so I have been making an effort to spend some quality time alone with him. 
His sister is a true companion to him and he would be happy to be with her and follow her around all day long (sound familiar sis?). However, despite being a caring older sister, she has a personality that matches her charm and looks, so I feel like he sometimes needs some space.

Also, the last month of school saw me spending a lot of time with her in the kitchen doing homework and preparing for tests while he played in his room or hung around the kitchen table waiting (and making me feel guilty).

So, that is how I got the idea to cook with him one afternoon while my daughter was out at a girlfriend's.

Maybe yielding a sharp knife during,  ... let's call it an 'undomesticated phase', doesn't sound like the right approach. But I can assure you that, naturally under my close supervision,  it was exactly what he needed: it made him feel like a big boy and not just the baby brother.  
End of story: he had fun (and was extremely proud throughout dinner), I had help, and the family enjoyed a good meal.
Perfect solution.
End, end of story: did the meal serve its purpose, magically turning my son into the calmest, most obedient of children?  No, certainly not. Just yesterday his kindergarden teacher told him off. But I am more than happy to keep making these in order to reach my goal ;o)

I followed a recipe I found on Giallo Zafferano, but I originally got the idea for these gnocchi from Jasmine over at Labna. I actually preferred her recipe because looking at the ingredient list it sounded like it would yield lighter, fluffier gnocchi. However I only had 250gr of ricotta (and only three of us having dinner that evening) so I wanted to halve the recipe. In addition (hang in there, I am about to make my point), it was my first time attempting to make gnocchi di ricotta and given past disappointing experiences making various kinds of gnocchi, I wanted to follow the recipe to a tee. Since it is impossible to use half an egg (or in the very least, it is wasteful), I went for a recipe that required two eggs for 500gr of ricotta, allowing me to use a whole egg for my 250gr of ricotta. They turned out well and were easy to make. If you want the lighter version (that is probably a little more difficult because of the wetter mix), go over to the Labna blog.

Ingredients (makes 5-6 portions)
500gr ricotta (cow or sheep)
2 eggs
250gr flour (start with a little less and keep adding)
120gr grated Parmesan cheese
grated nutmeg, to taste
salt, to taste
pepper (optional) to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Strain the ricotta to get rid of excess water (I skipped this step, but it will probably allow you to add less flour, making for lighter gnocchi) and place it in a large bowl. Add the grated cheese, the eggs, the nutmeg, pepper and salt and finally the flour. You want to add the flour last so you can use just enough for the ricotta mix to hold together. Too much flour will make for very dense and unsavoury gnocchi. Trust me, I speak from past experience!
Mix all the ingredients and then knead shortly on a surface sprinkled with some flour.
Shape into rolls of about 3cms in diameter and then cut into 2cm pieces. Set aside on a tray and sprinkle over some flour to keep them from sticking.
When the water starts boiling, salt it and delicately lower in the gnocchi. When they rise to the top, they are ready. Lift out with a skimmer so they don't break and serve with the sauce of your choice.




  1. I adore gnocci but often it goes wrong for me, I think probably because I rush to make it after work or in a hurry and the dough becomes too sticky/loose. These look like little pillows of perfection!

    1. I seem to have the same problem, always making them in a rush or with some ingredient missing or partially missing... and have had some pretty bad results, especially the first time I made pumpkin gnocchi: they were inedible!! These were good but I still am adamant about trying the fluffier version made with more ricotta and less eggs and flour.

  2. I love gnocchi of all variety, and these do look simple and reall good! I think sage and brown butter sound womderful!

  3. Sounds delish! I've never actually tried ricotta gnocchi butlike the idea. I'm with you on the egg--purists may frown but it makes thing so much easier...

  4. I never tried making ricotta gnocchi and they really look delicious. I have to try them at some point.

  5. What a wonderful family meal and I think that's so lovely that you gave your son some quality one-on-one time and let him help you in the kitchen. He must have been so proud! Those are moments that he will probably remember for forever xx

  6. Isn't that nice when everything works out? I love gnocchi and I was lucky enough to be taught how to make it by an Italian nonna. Last week I was shown how to make ferretti and orecchiette! :D As you can tell, it has been pasta night quite a lot here :D

  7. Avevo fatto una volta gli gnudi, simili ma non propriamente gnocchi di ricotta... voglio provarli, hanno l'aria di essere morbidissimi! :)
    Belle le foto con il piccolo aiutante! :)

  8. I’ve made pasta for many years, but have never tried gnocchi. And I didn’t even know you could make gnocchi with ricotta – so interesting. I’d love to try this!


Leave a suggestion, opinion or your own experience. I love hearing from you.