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Thursday, July 5, 2012 01:05 pm

Ricotta Gnocchi

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Jordan and Aurora Coffey say that their Ricotta Gnocchi is an ongoing customer favorite, one so popular it’s become a staple that will always be on the menu in some form or other. It’s those seasonal changes and ingredients that enable their luscious and ethereally light gnocchi to be both a much-loved familiar comfort dish, but also innovative and exciting.

As the Coffeys say,” What changes is the gnocchi’s condiments, which throughout the year showcase local and seasonal ingredients.” Right now, the gnocchi are being served with a condiment of olive-oil-cured cherry tomatoes, summer squashes, pesto, a bit of olive oil and good Parmesan.

  • 1/2 (15-16 oz.) carton of ricotta cheese, preferably whole milk
  • 4-5 c. all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 cups freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for coating the cooked gnocchi, optional

Mix all ingredients until they form a thick but still pliable dough. If the dough seems too loose and sticky, add additional flour as needed, no more than a tablespoon or two at a time. Place the dough on a well-floured surface and divide into 6-8 pieces. Roll on the well-floured surface into “ropes” that are approximately 1/2 -inch thick.

Cut the gnocchi into rectangular 1 1/2 -inch to 2-inch pillow shapes. As they’re cut, move them back into the flour and toss them very gently to coat.

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil on the stove. Add a small handful of salt (preferably Kosher). Toss the gnocchi a last time in the flour, then gently drop them, a few at a time, into the boiling water. After a few minutes, the gnocchi should begin rising to the top of the pot. (If your pot isn’t big enough to hold all the gnocchi in a single layer at the top of the pot, do this in two batches.)

After all the gnocchi have risen to the top of the pot (stir around the bottom of the pot to loosen any that might be stuck down there), let them cook another 30 seconds, then immediately remove them with a slotted spoon. If you’ll be using them immediately, drain them and then gently toss them in a large skillet for a few minutes with the condiment over low heat. (The turned-off-but-still-hot burner on which the gnocchi cooked is often perfect). If re-warming, add to a skillet large enough to hold the gnocchi in a single layer, and warm thoroughly over medium-low heat until they’re completely warmed through. Transfer to a large platter, keep warm while reheating the condiment/topping. Remove the gnocchi from the oven and evenly spread the reheated condiment/sauce evenly over the gnocchis’ surface; serve immediately.

If you’re preparing the gnocchi for later use, after they’ve all risen to the water’s surface and continued cooking for 30 seconds, remove them with a slotted spoon. “Shock” (a culinary term that denotes immediately stopping their cooking by placing them in a large bowl filled with water and ice). Toss with enough olive oil to thoroughly coat them and refrigerate for up to a few days. They can also be frozen in a single layer in resealable plastic bags for at least a month. Whether refrigerating or freezing, allow enough time for the gnocchi to come completely to room temperature before proceeding.

Gently reheat the gnocchi in just enough olive oil to completely coat in a large skillet over medium low heat, until they’ve just warmed completely through. Add whatever condiment or seasoning you’ll be using, and proceed as above.

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