Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Gnocchi Saga Continues

Recipes for ricotta gnocchi on the web seem even easier than potato gnocchi. Of course, not being satisfied to simply follow a recipe to the letter, I decided to violate a few "rules" others had set down.

First rule to be violated: Use fresh whole-milk ricotta and drain it overnight. I used part-skim ricotta from the supermarket and didn't drain it.

Second rule to be violated: Carefully mix the egg and ricotta by hand, adding very little or even no flour. I used the food processor and flour about equal in weight to the ricotta.

Potato gnocchi must be made without blending or processing the potatoes because to do so breaks the cell walls of the potato, setting the water loose. More water means more flour which means heavier gnocchi.

But, if careful and limited pulsing of a food processor can make pie crust, why not try it for ricotta gnocchi?

You need a fairly large food processor to make this recipe. I have a 1980s vintage model that refuses to die.

  • 15 oz. container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 ounces freshly grated parmesan or other grating cheese
  • Salt and white pepper to taste.
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups sifted flour
  1. Quickly mix the first five ingredients in the processor.
  2. Sift 1/2 cup flour into the processor and pulse briefly on slow speed to mix.
  3. Repeat step two until the dough is stiff enough to form a ball. Use as little flour and as little pulsing as possible.
  4. Remove the dough from the processor and divide into four balls. Wrap and refrigerate briefly to help firm the dough for handling.
  5. Taking one ball from the refrigerator at a time, divide it and shape it into stubby rolls about 3/4 inch in diameter.
  6. Cut the rolls at 3/4 to 1 inch intervals and roll each piece into a ball. Shape the ball by rolling it over fork times, whisk wires, or other surface to make grooves.
Store and prepare to eat as with the potato gnocchi in the previous post.

Gnocchi on Foodista

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Imprecise & Inexpensive

Two themes predominate in my approach to cooking. 1. Daily cooking of flavorful food need not be a precise art. 2. You can be an adventurous cook on a budget. Cooking and eating should be fun for both cookers and eaters.