Cook: Ricotta Gnocchi in Tomato-Basil Sauce

After making Greek yogurt, I was super-excited to use the yogurt whey for making ricotta.  Then, I found out that yogurt whey has a really small yield when it comes to ri-cotta-ing.  So, I put a pint of whole milk in a pot over a low flame and voila! ricotta!  I planned to make gnocchi out of it after it drained on cheesecloth for a day, but I was lazy, and ended up just eating it on toast and making the gnocchi from store-bought ricotta a few weeks later.

My first attempt was over-floured, and resulted in dense pellets of dough.  On my second try, I used a much larger ratio of ricotta to flour.  The new-recipe gnocchi were light little pillows of deliciousness.  The sauce is really simple and should translate to practically any pasta dish.

Ricotta Gnocchi in Tomato-Basil Sauce
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

0.75 c flour, plus more for work surface
0.25 c grated pecorino romano
2 tsp salt
2 cups part-skim or whole milk ricotta
1 egg
1.5 tbsp olive oil
0.5 onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper

(1) Mix flour, pecorino, and salt, forming a well in the center

(2) Add ricotta and egg to the center of the flour mixture

(3) Mix the flour and ricotta, just until a dough ball forms (it will be very sticky)

(4) Refrigerate dough while you prep the sauce

(5) Heat olive oil over medium heat

(6) Add onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes

(7) Add garlic, saute for 1 minute

(8) Add tomatoes, 1 tbsp basil, and a pinch of salt and pepper

(9) Reduce heat to medium-low

(10) Heat a large pot of salted water until boiling

(11) Meanwhile, dust a work surface with flour

(12) Remove a quarter of the dough from the refrigerator

(13) With floured hands, roll the dough into a long rope, about the thickness of your thumb

(14) With a sharp knife or board scraper, cut the rope into pieces, about 1 inch in length

(15) Set the pieces on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet as you go

(16) Repeat for the remaining sections of dough, removing from the refrigerator only as much dough as you can work with at one time

(17) Use the parchment paper to pour the gnocchi into the boiling water

(18) When the gnocchi float, they're done (about 3 minutes)

(19) Toss gnocchi with sauce, garnish with 1 tbsp basil and pecorino

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Notes: In step 3, the dough will be stickier than you think it needs to be (especially if you've made other pasta before).  You'll be using a good amount of flour on the work surface, and adding too much flour in the dough stage will result in dense gnocchi.  I used my hand to make the dough-ball; it seems to be the easiest and fastest way to do it.  I've made the sauce with a red onion and a yellow onion in the past, and both turned out great, so just use what you have in the kitchen.

What was cooking this time last year?

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