Ricotta Gnocchi in Browned Butter Sauce

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My first encounter with gnocchi of the potato variety is memorable but not in a good way.  Dense, overly chewy and hard to swallow are not words you want to associate with gnocchi.

Many years later I ventured into the art of  making gnocchi using a recipe in one of my old cook books and we have been enjoying them ever since.

Two memories have remained vivid in my mind from the first time I made gnocchi.  First, I didn’t make enough for dinner that night thinking they would considerably increase like pasta… and they didn’t.

Secondly, the gnocchi interruption!

Kids all in school that afternoon and as I sat at the kitchen table busily working on the gnocchi I heard some rustling outside the front door and decided to go check what it was all about. One of my children had escaped from kindergarten class and was hanging out on the front porch. Back to school we went suspending my gnocchi making for a while.

It’s hard to believe that each time since as I sit at the kitchen table making gnocchi, even in a different home, I remember that day like it was yesterday.

Enough about potato gnocchi since this post is about Ricotta Gnocchi which are equally delicious and super easy to make.

I’ve been wanting to share my Ricotta Gnocchi recipe for some time now but am glad I delayed since recently discovering a new and better recipe which has replaced the old one.

Light, fluffy and soft.  Now those are words you want to associate with a good plate of gnocchi!

Ricotta Gnocchi

8 ounces/ 250 g. ricotta

¾ cups fresh, finely grated parmiggiano cheese

¾ to 1 cup all-purpose flour plus more for dusting

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

¼ teaspoon salt

  1. Combine ricotta, egg, egg yolk, grated cheese and salt into a bowl.
  2. Stir in ¾ cups flour then the rest a little at a time until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms.
  3. Turn dough out on a lightly floured work surface, sprinkle top with flour and pat down.
  4. Roll dough to about a 1 inch thickness then cut into about ¾ inch strips.
  5.  Gently and lightly roll each strip of dough into cylinder shape.
  6. One roll at a time pinch off or cut pieces approximately 3/4 to 1 inch long.
  7. Place pieces on a wooden gnocchi board and with a floured fork lightly draw each dough piece along the board forming the gnocchi.
  8. Place gnocchi on a tray covered with a clean tea towel.  Refrigerate if using the same day or freeze gnocchi on tray then transfer to plastic bag to store in freezer for later use.
  9. To cook gnocchi bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt then add gnocchi, stir gently.  When gnocchi float to the top allow them to boil for one minute then remove and drain.  Cook frozen gnocchi straight from the freezer, cooking time will increase.
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Mix together ricotta, egg, egg yolk, salt and cheese

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Add flour and with hands bring dough together.

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On a lightly floured surface pat dough down with hands.

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Roll to about 1 inch thickness.

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Cut into about 3/4 inch wide strips.

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Roll each strip into cylinder shape.

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Pinch or cut off off  3/4 to 1 inch pieces.

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With floured fork and gnocchi board lightly draw dough piece along board to form gnocchi.

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Place gnocchi on a tea towel covered tray and refrigerate if cooking the same day otherwise freeze on tray until solid then store in plastic bag in freezer until ready to use.

Browned Butter Sauce

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

black pepper

1/2 cup gnocchi cooking water for the sauce

  1. Melt butter in a frying pan over medium high heat letting it bubble until it turns brown, add salt and pepper.  Watch closely so not to burn.
  2. Pour the cooked gnocchi into the frying pan tossing until coated with the butter, add the  1/2 cup cooking water, gently stir together until the butter and starch in the water emulsify producing a sauce that coats the gnocchi.
  3. Taste and add more salt if required.
  4. Serve immediately.
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Add gnocchi to salted boiling water.

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When they rise to the top allow to boil 1 minute then drain. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water for sauce.

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In a skillet on medium high heat combine butter, salt and pepper.

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Allow butter to lightly brown, careful not to burn.

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Add drained gnocchi into skillet and toss until coated with butter, add cooking water and allow sauce to thicken while gently stirring.

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Delicious!  Serve immediately.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Gnocchi can also be formed by cutting each log into 3/4 to 1 inch pieces and cooked without using fork and gnocchi board.  However, the ridges formed by the board and hollow in the gnocchi formed by the fork are great for capturing the delicious sauce.
  • Ricotta gnocchi are delicious served with a tomato sauce as well.
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