A few days ago while online, I came across a relatively stress-free recipe from Mark Bittman for ricotta gnocchi. Although I was tempted to use it as a subject for a post, the recipe’s gnocchi looked more like huge rounded dumplings than the more typical small pillow-shaped pasta most people associate with gnocchi.
So I looked elsewhere on the web for other ricotta gnocchi recipes and eventually settled on one by Geoffrey Zakarian. The recipe, accompanied by a video of his preparing the dish on a Food Network show, yielded gnocchi that resembled the potato versions I’ve made before.
In the video, the process looked not only effortless but foolproof. Executing the recipe in real time, however, proved to be quite another story. I should have known better than to follow blindly any recipe from the Food Network since, more often than not, the printed recipe doesn’t match the videoed one. Moreover, it’s my belief that the proverbial “magic of television” often shows a finished dish that’s been tweaked behind the scenes and touched up by a food stylist. But this is a subject for a future “musing” here.
My experience last night is chronicled. In retrospect, could’ves, should’ves, and would’ves keep echoing in my brain. I could’ve gone to trusted cookbooks; I should’ve trusted myself and used drained ricotta; I would’ve used less flour. . .
I believe that the photos in this post will show where I went wrong, especially the one of the finished ball of dough. Perhaps “sinkers” is an apt description of the gnocchi.
Fortunately, I used my own recipe for a pancetta-tomato sauce and had enough remaining to serve two helpings of perfectly al’ dente gemelli.
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Semolina flour, for dusting
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan, olive oil, eggs and 1 teaspoon salt with a whisk in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the all-purpose flour in 3 parts, stirring with a rubber spatula.
4. Bring the dough together in a ball and cut off one-quarter of it. Dust the work surface with all-purpose flour to prevent sticking
5. Roll the cut- off piece of dough into a dowel shape about 5/8 inch in diameter.
6. Cut the dowel into 5/8-inch pieces. Dust some parchment paper with semolina flour and place the gnocchi on it to prevent sticking. Repeat with the rest of the dough, quarter by quarter.
7. Cook the gnocchi in the boiling water for 2 minutes.
8. Serve tossed with a bit of the Pancetta Tomato Sauce. Alternatively, you can freeze the uncooked gnocchi for up to 2 weeks.
My save-the-day gemelli alternative:
Wine Pairing: Dolcetto d’Alba