How can you not love gnocchi? I love making big batches of potato gnocchi and freezing them for a quick meal down the road. I finally was able to try a version of ricotta gnocchi and to be honest; I don't know how I could go back to the potato variety after seeing how easy and pillowy gnocchi can be.
Like bruschetta, gnocchi is an Italian food word that people have some trouble pronouncing. The "gno" makes a "nyo" sound with a silent "g." The "cch" sounds like a hard "k." The "i" is an "ee" sound as in "tree." "Nyo-kee." Gnocchi is the plural form of the word. The singular is "gnocco." So you might order a plate of gnocchi and savor each delicious gnocco on that plate. The smaller forms are called gnocchetti.
I have followed this Ricotta Gnocchi recipe twice and paired them in two different sauces, both are just phenomenal. Whatever you do, create a luscious broth and let the gnocchi shine!
There are essential do-ahead tasks for the ricotta you need to know about before starting this recipe. The best brand according to America's Test Kitchen is Belgioioso Whole Milk Ricotta. Line a colander with cheesecloth and set inside a large bowl (to catch the liquid draining from the ricotta). Spoon ricotta onto cheesecloth and put a paper towel on top. Weigh ricotta down using cans or other bulky pantry items; chill for at least 4 hours and up to 24. The ricotta should be dry and crumbly.
2 cups whole-milk ricotta
1 cup finely grated Grana Padano, plus more (for serving)
1 large egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
2¼ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus more
Measure out 1½ cups of dry and crumbly ricotta.
In the bowl of your food processor, pulse the crumbly ricotta, Grana Padano, egg, egg yolk, and salt in a food processor just until smooth. Sprinkle flour over ricotta mixture and pulse again until just combined. Transfer the gnocchi batter to a medium bowl.
Dust a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet generously with flour. Using a large metal spoon, fill the spoon then scape against the side of the bowl to smooth out the top. Using your finger, push the batter off the spoon and let it drop onto the baking sheet. The dumpling will slightly curve at each end. Dust tops of gnocchi with more flour.
From here you either boil the gnocchi fresh or you can flash freeze these on the sheet pan in the freezer for a couple of hours and then put them in a freezer zip top for up to a month. If you boil from frozen, expect them to cook for 5-6 minutes. When you boil from fresh they take no time at all.
Asparagus and Lemon Broth
8 ounces asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth (I recommend homemade for this recipe or you can substitute Better than Bouillon chicken paste mixed with water)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Grated Grana Padano and olive oil (for serving)
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook until almost tender, 2–3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water; drain and pat dry. Reserve pot.
Meanwhile, bring chicken stock to a simmer in a large skillet over medium heat.
Return pot of water to a gentle simmer and add gnocchi (one by one so they don’t crush each other), stirring occasionally, until they’re almost double in size and cooked through and tender, about 3-4 minutes (dumplings will quickly float to the surface).
Carefully transfer gnocchi to the pan of chicken stock and add garlic and butter and gently shake the pan until sauce has thickened about 3 minutes. Add asparagus, and lemon juice and gently swirl and spoon the sauce over the asparagus and gnocchi. Taste for seasoning and serve with grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
Sage Brown Butter Sauce
1 cup chicken stock
1 stick butter
3 sprigs of fresh sage, about 10 large leaves
Kosher salt and pepper
Grated Grana Padano (for serving)
Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large pan. Once the butter is melted and begins to bubble, add the sage leaves and watch them cook in the butter for a 1-2 minutes before flipping them over with tongs. Swirl the pan to carefully move the sage leaves around while the butter browns. You will begin to see brown flakes forming in the bottom of the pan. Once the sage leaves look crispy, remove them to a paper towel and sprinkle lightly with salt.
Add the chicken stock and taste for seasoning. Bring heat down to a very low simmer.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a gentle simmer and add gnocchi (one by one so they don’t crush each other), stirring occasionally, until they’re almost double in size and cooked through and tender, about 3-4 minutes (dumplings will quickly float to the surface).
Carefully transfer gnocchi to the pan of sage-infused butter and chicken stock and gently shake the pan until sauce has thickened about 3 minutes.
Gently swirl and spoon the sauce over the gnocchi. Taste for seasoning and serve with grated cheese and a fried sage.