Monday, September 22, 2014

Gnocchi with Ricotta and Fresh Garden Peas - Pillows of Goodness

Gnocchi is a unique pasta with a long history in the classic European cuisine

Gnocchi is a unique pasta with a long history in the classic European cuisine. They are petite, potato pillows with a light and airy texture made primarily from flour, potatoes, eggs and cheese. In today's recipe, I used ricotta cheese and thyme for a burst of flavors and fresh garden peas for balance. Serve them warm, as a delicious main course.

Gnocchi is a unique pasta with a long history in the classic European cuisine

Preparing the gnocchi dough may seem quite difficult but honestly is one of the most simple and fresh pasta you can make at home. The trick of making good gnocchi is to not over knead the dough. The ingredients should just come together in a soft, smooth and workable dough. Use potatoes that are just a little bit warm (never hot), so they will absorb less flour, making the gnocchi lighter and nicer.

Gnocchi is a unique pasta with a long history in the classic European cuisine

Baking the potatoes rather than boiling them also adds great flavor to the gnocchi. The oven heat keeps the potatoes dry which reduced the amount of flour needed. For a more delicate textured gnocchi, I pass the baked potatoes thru a sieve.

Gnocchi is a unique pasta with a long history in the classic European cuisine

This gnocchi with ricotta and fresh garden peas recipe is easy to make, inexpensive and filling. So, give the beloved gnocchi a spot in your kitchen creation line-up.

Yield: 2 servings                               Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 3 medium starchy potatoes
  • 85 g (2/3 cups) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 handfuls fresh garden peas
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • salt
  • pepper
  • grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 195 °C (380 °F). 
  2. Scrub the potatoes, puncture the skin with a fork and drizzle them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 
  3. Place the potatoes on a tray and bake them for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until soft.
  4. Allow the potatoes to cool for a little bit, then slice the potatoes in half and scoop the interior.
  5. Place a sieve over a medium bowl and pass the baked potatoes thru it, using the back of a spoon.
  6. Add the 1/3 cup of the flour, ricotta cheese, beaten egg, thyme leaves and stir briefly with the spoon. Add the rest of the flour little by little and mix with your hands until the mixture transforms in a rough dough. Do not over-work the dough.
  7. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and gently knead the dough until smooth, adding more flour if needed. Do not over knead.
  8. Divide the dough in two equal parts. On a well floured surface, take one half of the dough and using your fingers roll it back and forth into a rope, about the thickens of your index finger. Repeat with the other dough half.
  9. Flour a sharp knife and cut the gnocchi into 1-inch pieces or to the size you desire.
  10. Dip your index finger into flour and gently press in the middle of each piece to create small pillows.
  11. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a soft boil. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Drop the gnocchi in and about 1 minutes after they float at the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon.
  12. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the gnocchi, season with pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until they're lightly brown, for about 7 minutes.
  13. Add the garden peas, butter and lemon zest cook for 2 more minutes.
  14. Transfer to a plate and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Tips and Tricks:
  • Refrigerating the gnocchi dough for 15 minutes firms up the dough and makes it easier to work with. Generally, gnocchi don't hold up well at room temperature.
  • Gnocchi freezes well and will keep for up to 1 month. Spread the extra gnocchi on a sheet pan and place it in the freezer. Once gnocchi are firm transfer them to a freezer bag or container. Cook frozen gnocchi by placing them directly into hot water.

2 comments:

  1. I love gnocchi! I feel quite intimidated by the prospect of making them at home though... Your recipe is really nice, I like the combination of ingredients, flavourfull and balanced, as you say!

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