Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ricotta Gnocchi

OMG... I thought the posting date was May 15th!! If it wasn't for the comment i just got from Olga, i would've been completely oblivious of the fact that I missed the posting date or the first ever Daring COOK'S challenge...*whew* thank-you, Olga! This month's Daring Cook's challenge was to make our own Ricotta Gnocchi. I've never had gnocchi before in my life-- i always thought they were just ball-shaped pasta that didn't look too appetizing... it never crossed my mind to order/try gnocchi. I didn't know what i was missing out on until i made them myself... they were delicious! The inside turned out light and airy... nothing close to the dense pasta balls i imagined. For the sauce, I followed "culinary adventures of a new wife"'s recipe and made Gnocchi with Spinach & White Beans with half of my batch... it tasted amazing! JLo is on his special work-out diet now so he didn't have any... I gave my brother 1/3 of the gnocchis and finished the rest all by myself! XD! For the second batch, i topped them with a homemade Gorgonzola sauce with spinach and mushrooms, these tasted even better! I'll save the Gorgonzola sauce recipe for another entry since I'm running out of time... gotta post this up before I forget about it again. Till next time, everyone! Hopefully it won't take me another two weeks to update my blog...

Ricotta Gnocchi
A Daring Cook's Challenge (makes about 90 gnocchis)
INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound (454 grams/16 ounces) fresh ricotta (2 cups)
  • 2 large cold eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) unsalted butter
  • 2 or 3 fresh sage leaves, or a few pinches of freshly grated nutmeg, or a few pinches of chopped lemon zest (all optional)
  • ½ ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (about ¼ cup very lightly packed)
  • about ¼ teaspoon salt (a little more if using kosher salt)
  • all-purpose flour for forming the gnocchi
DIRECTIONS:

  • Step 1 (the day before you make the gnocchi): Preparing the ricotta.
    If the ricotta is too wet, your gnocchi will not form properly. In her cookbook, Judy Rodgers recommends checking the ricotta’s wetness. To test the ricotta, take a teaspoon or so and place it on a paper towel [picture 3]. If you notice a very large ring of dampness forming around the ricotta after a minute or so, then the ricotta is too wet. To remove some of the moisture, line a sieve with cheesecloth or paper towels and place the ricotta in the sieve. Cover it and let it drain for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can wrap the ricotta carefully in cheesecloth (2 layers) and suspend it in your refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours with a bowl underneath to catch the water that’s released [picture 1, 2]. Either way, it’s recommended that you do this step the day before you plan on making the gnocchi.

  • Step 2 (the day you plan on eating the gnocchi): Making the gnocchi dough.

    1. To make great gnocchi, the ricotta has to be fairly smooth. Place the drained ricotta in a large bowl and mash it as best as you can, then press the ricotta through a strainer to smooth it out as much as possible [picture 4, 5].
    2. Add the lightly beaten eggs to the mashed ricotta [picture 6].
    3. Melt the tablespoon of butter. As it melts, add in the sage if you’re using it. If not, just melt the butter and add it to the ricotta mixture [picture 7].
    4. Add in any flavouring that you’re using (i.e., nutmeg, lemon zest, etc.). If you’re not using any particular flavouring, that’s fine.
    5. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and the salt [picture 8].
    6. Beat all the ingredients together very well. You should end up with a soft and fluffy batter with no streaks (everything should be mixed in very well) [picture 9. 10].
  • Step 3: Forming the gnocchi.
    1. Fill a small pot with water and bring to a boil. When it boils, salt the water generously and keep it at a simmer. You will use this water to test the first gnocchi that you make to ensure that it holds together and that your gnocchi batter isn’t too damp.
    2. In a large, shallow baking dish or on a sheet pan, make a bed of all-purpose flour that’s ½ an inch deep.
    3. With a spatula, scrape the ricotta mixture away from the sides of the bowl and form a large mass in the centre of your bowl .
    4. Using a tablespoon, scoop up about 2 to 3 teaspoons of batter and then holding the spoon at an angle, use your finger tip to gently push the ball of dough from the spoon into the bed of flour [picture 11].
    5. At this point you can either shake the dish or pan gently to ensure that the flour covers the gnocchi or use your fingers to very gently dust the gnocchi with flour. Gently pick up the gnocchi and cradle it in your hand rolling it to form it in an oval as best as you can, at no point should you squeeze it. What you’re looking for is an oval lump of sorts that’s dusted in flour and plump [picture 12, 13].
    6. To test the gnocchi, Gently place them in the simmering water. It will sink and then bob to the top. From the time that it bobs to the surface, you want to cook the gnocchi until it’s just firm. This could take 3 to 5 minutes.
    7. If your gnocchi begins to fall apart, this means that the ricotta cheese was probably still too wet. You can remedy this by beating a teaspoon of egg white into your gnocchi batter. If your gnocchi batter was fluffy but the sample comes out heavy, add a teaspoon of beaten egg to the batter and beat that in. Test a second gnocchi to ensure success.
    8. Form the rest of your gnocchi. You can put 4 to 6 gnocchi in the bed of flour at a time. But don’t overcrowd your bed of flour or you may damage your gnocchi as you coat them.
    9. Have a sheet pan ready to rest the formed gnocchi on. Line the sheet pan with wax or parchment paper and dust it with flour.
    10. You can cook the gnocchi right away, however, Judy Rodgers recommends storing them in the refrigerator for an hour prior to cooking to allow them to firm up.

  • Step 4: Cooking the gnocchi.
    1. Once the water is boiling, salt it generously.Drop the gnocchi into the water one by one. Once they float to the top, cook them for 3 to 5 minutes (as in the case with the test gnocchi) [picture 14]
    2. When the gnocchi float to the top, you can start your sauce (of your choice) while you wait for them to finish cooking.
    3. With a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi from the boiling water [picture 15] and gently drop into your sauce of choice. Carefully roll in the sauce until coated. Serve immediately.
  • Freezing the gnocchi: If you don’t want to cook your gnocchi right away or if you don’t want to cook all of them, you can make them and freeze them. Once they are formed and resting on the flour-dusted, lined tray, place them uncovered in the freezer. Leave them for several hours to freeze. Once frozen, place them in a plastic bag. Remove the air and seal the bag. Return to the freezer. To cook frozen gnocchi, remove them from the bag and place individually on a plate or on a tray. Place in the refrigerator to thaw completely. Cook as directed for fresh gnocchi.


Ricotta Gnocchi with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Gorgonzola Sauce


Ricotta Gnocchi with Spinach and White Beans

22 comments:

  1. mmmmm the gnocchi with spinach, mushrooms & gorgonzola sounds delicious! Great photos!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. WOW! I just love the sauces you used. I also love the way you used a collage of photos as an illustrations -- what a wonderful idea! I have to learn how to do that.

    Your did a wonderful job as a first time gnocchi maker!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had seen some of your photos already on the Daring Kitchen site... and it sure looks delicious! I love your sauce recipes!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Both your versions look fabulous and I may have to try the spinach and white bean version as I keep meaning to do more bean dishes.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, mushrooms, spinach and gorgonzola: three of my favourite things! I think gnocchi (the ones I made anyway) go best with strong flavours, and I think I will take a cue from you and try a blue cheese sauce with the ones I froze...

    Your pictures look great, especially the close-up. Great job on the texture!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mmmm... the gorgonzola sauce sounds amazing! It all looks super yummy!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Beautiful gnocchi! I love all your photos showing every step of making your gnocchi. I love the final products. Congratulations! It is really an achievement.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nice spin on this recipe. Mine wasn't much of a success and was tasteless. Light as air, but tasteless.

    ReplyDelete
  9. mmmmh, gorgonzola!!
    great idea, Brava!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Your gnocchi look gorgeous!! I love the spinach/white beans idea!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ha ha, I did the same thing eh! I didn't realize what day it was until I saw it on everyone elses site. They both look delicious! I don't think I would be able to pick between the two sauces.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nice job! Glad you enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yum!! I love what you did with the sauces, your gnocchi looks awesome =D.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The mushroom and the white bean sauce all sounds delish! Love Gorgonzola!! Well done

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow what a great photo spread you did I just love it - and the money shot of the gnocchi is excellent. And the sauces are to die for. Beautiful pixs. Thanks you your collage really helped other people in the challenge. Yes these are little pillow of yummmmmmminess. Cheers from Audax in Australia

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your gnocci look so amazing!! I love the step by step photos too!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love all of your photos! And I especially love both of your sauces--your gnocchi look fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Your gnocchi (both kinds) look divine! It's fun to see what everyone else came up with. I like your blog design too :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Considering you’ve never had gnocchi before, it looks like you did an amazing job with this! I made ricotta gnocchi about a month ago (I didn’t make the ricotta, however), but your recipe sounds way more exciting than mine, especially with those sauces you made. You put a ton of time into this, and I’m glad it turned out well!

    ReplyDelete
  20. the gorgonzola sounds amazing! congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  21. @Sapuche: Thanks! I'm very tempted to make my own Ricotta after seeing all the wonderful job other Daring Cooks did. Doesnt seem that hard, you should try it too!

    @Charli: Thanks for visiting and the nice comments!

    ReplyDelete
  22. angelica you are 太恐怖了!!!i showed my mom your site and she said you should just open up your own restaurant/bakery!!
    you have inspired me to make one of your baked goods haha

    ReplyDelete