Way, way, way back in 2012 I attempted to make homemade gnocchi and was less than thrilled with the results. The gnocchi were a little mushy and it was a lot of work. I ended up just kind of writing gnocchi off as something I would only eat when I was out at a restaurant; not worth the hassle. Well, fast forward a few years and I was re-inspired to make gnocchi at home. Not only I had I learned to make delicious gnocchi in my pasta making class with Get Cooking, but I came across an article on Serious Eats detailing the steps to quickly and easily make awesome gnocchi.
The tricks to the Serious Eats method include pressing out the ricotta on layers of paper towel to pull out the excess moisture and measuring out the ingredients exactly using a scale. This helps to ensure that the gnocchi don’t end up gummy and doughy.
I ended up mostly following the Serious Eats recipe, however I did make a few modifications based on what I learned at Get Cooking.
- 12 ounces good quality Ricotta cheese
- 1 ounce finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 4 – 6 ounces all-purpose flour
- 1 whole egg, plus 1 egg yolk
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove
- freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- 2 cups of your favourite tomato sauce
- minced fresh herbs, such as basil or chives
1. Line a large plate with three layers of paper towels or a clean dish towel. Transfer ricotta directly to paper towels and spread with a rubber spatula. Place another triple layer of paper towels or a clean dish towel on top and press down firmly with the palms of your hands to blot excess moisture. Peel off upper paper towels.
2. Place a large bowl on a scale and then zero the scale. Scrape the ricotta into the bowl to weigh. You will want exactly 8 ounces.
3. Add in parmesan, 3 1/2 ounces of flour, whole egg, egg, yolk, minced garlic, grated fresh nutmeg, salt and pepper. Combine the mixture with a rubber spatula. It should be sticky, but not loose. Add flour, a tablespoon at a time, if it is still very moist after kneading with the spatula for 1 minute.
4. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and dust the top with flour. Flatten into a 4- to 6-inch disk and cut into quarters using a bench scraper. Working one piece at a time, roll dough into a log about 6 inches long, dusting with flour as necessary. Split log in half and roll each half into a log about 12 inches long and 3/4-inch wide. You should end up with 8 logs.
5. Using your bench scraper, cut each log into 8 to 10 gnocchi. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet dusted with flour. Shake to lightly coat gnocchi and prevent sticking. At this point, gnocchi can be frozen. Transfer baking sheet to freezer until gnocchi are completely frozen, about 30 minutes. Transfer gnocchi to a zipper-lock freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Cook directly from frozen, adding a few minutes to cooking time.
6. To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat sauce in a separate saucepan until hot but not simmering. Add gnocchi to pot, stir gently, and cook until gnocchi float for 30 seconds, about 3 minutes total. Drain gnocchi, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water. Add gnocchi and 1/4 cup of cooking water to pot with sauce and bring to a hard boil, stirring gently. Add more pasta water to thin sauce to desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
7. Stir in a big drizzle of olive oil and a handful of chopped fresh herbs. Transfer to a large serving plate. Sprinkle with more herbs and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with more olive oil. Serve immediately.
I was incredibly pleased with how these gnocchi turned out, especially after the last disappointing attempted. They were light and pillowy balls of cheesy, doughy goodness. I thought the tomato sauce worked really well with the gnocchi, as the acidity of the tomato sauce played well with the richness of the gnocchi. I would, however, be interested to try this gnocchi recipe with a brown butter sage sauce. I think that would be incredibly decadent.
Although I don’t think this recipe is quite as easy as boiling dried pasta, as Serious Eats claims, it really isn’t that finicky. Just be very precise in your measurements, use good quality ingredients, press out the ricotta and I think you will be quite pleased with the results.