I was at work last week looking for something new and interesting to make over the weekend. Right on the front page of allrecipes.com was this little gem called ricotta gnocchi. I’ve wanted to try gnocchi since I took Italian in college and we had an Italian food day. Some go-getter in the class made potato gnocchi and I didn’t get a taste before the servings ran out. My gnocchi curiosity had lain dormant until I saw a menu for a new restaurant in Columbia I wanted to try. They had gnocchi on the menu, and I have planned to go but never made it.
So, I took a weekend alone in the house and turned it into a gnocchi fest. The recipe follows, except the one change I noted:
- 1 (8 ounce) container ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, or as needed **(I needed two 1/4 ish cups, but then again I’m in the South and it was 90 degrees yesterday)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 dash crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 6 basil leaves, finely shredded
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small chunks
- Stir together the ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan Cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl until evenly combined. Mix in 1 cup of flour. Add additional flour if needed to form a soft dough.
- Divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces, and roll into 1/2-inch-thick ropes on a floured surface. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces, and place on a lightly floured baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, and cook until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in diced tomatoes and red pepper flakes; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in shredded basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- While sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Boil the gnocchi until they float to the surface, 1 to 2 minutes, then drain.(**they really will float to the top. don’t freak and pull them out too early, but also don’t leave them in there after they’ve floated up to the top. Use a slotted spoon to grab the earlier risers.)
- To assemble the dish, stir the cubed mozzarella cheese into the sauce and allow the heat of the sauce to soften, but not melt the cheese. Place gnocchi into a serving bowl, and spoon sauce overtop.