Thursday, May 14, 2009

First Daring Cook Ever! May challenge: Ricotta Gnocchi.

So here is the first ever Daring Cooks challenge! I cant write a lot, Ive got to get to bed, hope you enjoy!
Zuni Ricotta Gnocchi
For the gnocchi:
454 grams fresh ricotta (2 cups)
2 large cold eggs
1 T unsalted butter
Lemon zest
½ ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
¼ t salt
quinoa flour for forming the gnocchi
For the gnocchi sauce:
227 grams butter
Lemon juice
Sage leaves
Step 1: Make the ricotta.
1. Gently simmer one gallon whole milk.
2. Add 1/4 cup white vinegar. Stir. The milk will start to curdle (thats the ricotta). Stain through a cheesecloth lined sieve.
3. Let drain for a couple hours. Then, wrap up the ricotta ball on the cheesecloth and let sit in sieve in fridge overnight. This will drain even more liquid out. You want it REALLY dry.
Step 2: 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 with a rubber spatula or a large spoon (it’s best to use a utensil with some flexibility here). As you mash the ricotta, if you noticed that you can still see curds, then press the ricotta through a strainer to smooth it out as much as possible.
2. Add the lightly beaten eggs to the mashed ricotta.
3. Melt the tablespoon of butter. Add it to the ricotta mixture.
4. Add in any flavouring that you’re using (I used lemon zest).
5. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and the salt.
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).
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 quinoa 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.
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.
5. Gently place your gnocchi 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.
Step 4: Cooking the gnocchi.
1. Have a large skillet ready to go. Place the butter and water for the sauce in the skillet and set aside.
2. In the largest pan or pot that you have (make sure it’s wide), bring at least 2 quarts of water to a boil (you can use as much as 3 quarts of water if your pot permits). You need a wide pot or pan so that your gnocchi won’t bump into each other and damage each other.
3. Once the water is boiling, salt it generously.
4. 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).
5. Place the skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Swirl it gently a few times as it melts.
6. With a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi from the boiling water and gently drop into the butter sauce. Let brown a little. Remove once lightly browned.
7. Make sauce. Add butter to the gnocchi frying pan. Place sage leaves in butter until slightly fried, then remove to drain. The sage leaves can be crumpled on top of the gnocchi. Add lemon juice and swirl to combine. Pour sauce over gnocchi and top off with a little Parmiggiano-Regiano.
Frying boiled gnocchi.
Lemon gnocchi in a sage lemon butter sauce with crispy sage leaves.
Im gonna eat you.
Nom nom nom.
Same recipe but with a berry sauce. I just cooked down some blackberries and blueberries.
Blackberry goodness.
Close up.


  1. Great post, the berry dish looks great. I pan fried some gnocchi the following morning in butter and served with maple syrup which was good too.

  2. Mmm, your gnocchi look amazing!! I love the flavours you used =D.

  3. I love blackberries and they are so sweet now! what a wonderful combination!