Monday, January 16, 2012
Ricotta gnocchi...easy, homemade pasta
For a while, people kept on telling me how much they loved gnocchi, but I just did not get it. I heard so much about the wonderful, "pillow-y" texture, but the texture was the thing I really didn't like. Every time I tried gnocchi (from the grocery store and in restaurants), I found the gummy texture to be a real turn-off. Then, I tried this recipe.
Within just a couple of months, I've made this dish four times. I fully intended to share it here before today, but we continually ate the whole batch before I could get any photos.
Now, I finally understand what people mean when they describe gnocchi as "pillow-y." The texture is so lovely and comforting. If food can feel good in your mouth, this dish does. Plus, this recipe was my first attempt at homemade pasta, and I'm so pleased by how simple it is to pull together. Forming the gnocchi felt a little awkward at first, but when I stopped worrying about it, everything came together easily. These little guys will taste good, even if they're not perfectly uniform.
(inspired by Budget Bytes)
1 15 ounces container part-skim ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, divided
4 tablespoons butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
your choice of jarred tomato sauce
your choice of wine
Empty jar of tomato sauce into a saucepan. Stir in a generous splash of wine. Simmer, stirring occasionally.
Add the first five ingredients to a medium bowl, and stir to combine. Then, add the white whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the unbleached, all-purpose flour. Mix the ingredients until a sticky dough forms.
Begin heating a large pot of water to a boil.
Flour a flat surface and your hands with the remaining flour. Pull off one handful of dough. On the floured surface, roll the dough into a long rope, approximately the width of your pinkie finger (or as thin as you can roll it). Cut the rope into 1/2 inch pieces. Press the tines of a flour-coated fork against each piece to create a ridged texture. Repeat with additional handfuls of dough until all of the dough has been shaped.
Drop the dough pieces into the pot of boiling water. When the all the gnocchi float to the top, drain the pasta.
While the pasta is draining, melt the butter in a large pan, over low-medium heat. Add the minced garlic, and saute until lightly browned. Then, add drained gnocchi. Coat the pasta with the garlic butter, and saute until the gnocchi is lightly browned.
Serve topped with tomato sauce and shredded parmesan.
Notes - I didn't like the gummy texture of a batch that I froze. Therefore, even though it would be so nice to pull out a bag of frozen gnocchi for a quick dinner, I can't recommend it. It's a real bummer. I know. Also, obviously, you can skip or alter some of the "extras," like the garlic butter, browning or tomato sauce. I just wanted to share my favorite way to serve the dish.