This is a great gnocchi recipe (are there bad gnocchi recipes?) the Accidental Locavore made and is using courtesy of The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook by Tracey Medeiros. It’s easy, just remember with gnocchi, less is more, so handle it as little and as lightly as possible. Serves 4.
• 4 teaspoons salt
• 2 cups (1 pound) whole-milk ricotta cheese, preferably homemade
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
• 2 ounces Parmigano-Reggiano cheese, grated, plus extra for serving
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or tarragon, plus extra for garnish
• ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg (optional)
• 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for working the dough
• ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 4 tablespoons (2 ounces)unsalted butter
• 4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lightly oil a baking sheet and set aside. Bring 6 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil in a large stockpot.
In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, eggs, Parmigano-Reggiano, thyme, nutmeg, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Add the flour and stir until a wet and sticky dough begins to form. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough just comes together. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and set aside on a lightly floured baking sheet.
Lightly flour a clean working surface and roll each piece of dough into a 1/2“-thick rope. Cut each rope into 1” pieces. Add the gnocchi, two ropes at a time, to the boiling water. Cook until the pasta has floated to the surface, about 2 minutes per batch. Using a small sieve or a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi. Spread the gnocchi out on the baking sheet and let cool until ready to use.
To make the sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add half the gnocchi and sauté, lightly tossing, until golden brown. Transfer to a large bowl and cover to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and remaining gnocchi.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the cream, butter and sage to the skillet. Cook until the sauce reduces slightly, about 5 minutes, then pour over the gnocchi and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the gnocchi with chopped thyme and serve with additional Parmigano-Reggiano cheese.
My Verdict (and my version): I’m prejudiced because I love gnocchi! These were really good and a different way of making them – browning after cooking. I had garlic scapes from my garden and a bunch of portobello mushrooms, so after browning the gnocchi, I added the butter and sautéed the scapes and mushrooms (both coarsely chopped) and a couple of thyme sprigs before adding the cream. Then I tossed the gnocchi in the pan with the reduced cream and served it – delicious!
The other thing I did differently, was to make and cut all 8 ropes of dough and then boil them. I used a big hotel pan lined with parchment to hold the cut gnocchi. Because gnocchi cooks so fast, it just seemed a little tricky, timing-wise, to be cutting in batches while the gnocchi were cooking, but if you’re more coordinated than I am, go for it! And (don’t tell my husband) I added a lot more salt to the water than the recipe calls for, since I’ve been told that all pasta water “should taste like the sea.” Tracey says you can make the gnocchi, cook them, cool them and freeze them and that’s exactly what I’m going to do, using the rest of my ricotta.