18 May 2010

Cooking - Ricotta Gnocchi & Sundried Tomato Pesto

I'm a big fan of gnocchi, but I don't have it often enough, mainly because I've always made it with potatoes which is a far more labourious process. This ricotta version does still require a little effort but is less time consuming, from this you get a light and creamy pasta with less heartache from boiling and cooling potatoes.

Gnocchi refers to the shape of the pasta rather than what it is made from - gnocchi is the plural of gnocco, which means 'lump' in italian - so they refer more to little dumplings rather than a specific ingredient.

This gnocchi can be served with any of your favourite sauces - a simple tomato, basil pesto, a cream sauce or sage butter. My new favourite is sundried tomato pesto, it is a great sauce because you can bring it together with storecupboard ingredients and a touch of parmesan.

I made do with normal supermarket ricotta here but if you can find something great from a deli or your local farm shop it will taste even better.

Serves 2
To make the Gnocchi

250g tub of ricotta
150g - 200g 00 pasta flour or plain white flour
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon parmesan or pecorino
salt and pepper

First you need to drain your ricotta, put it in a fine sieve over a bowl and leave for half an hour for any residual water to drip through.

Once your ricotta is ready add it to a large bowl with the egg yolk and seasoning, then your pecorino or parmesan. Stir to combine, then slowly add your flour in a few tablespoons at a time until you have a workable but slightly sticky dough. Make sure to add your flour in slowly so you can keep an eye on the consistency.

Knead the dough very lightly for a minute, the key to good and light gnochhi is to try not to work the dough too much. Cut it into two pieces and roll each piece out into a sausage shape about 1 inch thick.

Cut your dough into little 1 inch pieces. Transfer to a well floured plate or tray and refridgerate for at least 1 hour. If you want to freeze your gnocchi to use later, lay out on a baking sheet and freeze, then transfer them to a freezer bag. Defrost fully before cooking.

To cook your gnocchi, add to a pan of simmering water and cook for 1 - 2 minutes until the gnocchi float to the top.
Remove with a slotted spoon as each one rises to the surface. If you are making the pesto below save a few tablespoons of the cooking water.

For extra texture you can fry your gnocchi after this step. Add oil to a nonstick pan and fry on a high heat for 1 - 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. This step is great because you get a crisp outside and a melty middle.

To make sundried tomato pesto

4 -5 sundried tomatoes
clove of garlic
about 10 pine nuts
2 tablespoons parmesan or pecorino
olive oil
small bunch of basil - optional
salt and pepper

Blitz all your ingredients in a food processor until blended. Add more oil if it seems a little thick. This pesto is a little drier than basil pesto, you can use the saved cooking water from your pasta to make it more like a sauce.

To serve with your gnocchi very gentle toss the sauce with the hot gnocchi in a saucepan, being careful not to break up the gnocchi pieces.

Serve in warmed bowls with parmesan on top, we had ours with some garlic rubbed ciabatta too.


littlewrenpottery.co.uk said...

Great recipe I've never tried to make Gnocchi before like you say it always seems very complicated.

When I usually cook Gnocchi I run it under the cold tap for a moment or two just to get rid of any starchyness thats attached to the pieces.

Anonymous said...


Sian said...


Rachel Lucie Johns said...

gorgeous, will definitely be trying that soon!

TheFastestIndian said...

I am definitely going to try this as it looks great! I'm not a massive fan of potato gnocchi so this looks to be a top alternative.