Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ricotta gnocchi and how we see the world

The other day, Tony received a lovely e-mail asking if I would share my recipe for the ricotta gnocchi we make here at Jarnac.
Well, here goes. I knew afterposting the CASSOULET RECIPE, it would only be the beginning. I have been having a hard time getting to the next recipe and now the di lemna has been solved for me! Hence the following

Fresh Ricotta Gnocchi
1 3# Container of Fresh Ricotta (you can find this at Murray’s Cheese or Faiccos Pork Store on Bleeker Street)
1 cup all purpose flour
3 whole extra large eggs
1 cup of grated Locatelli Romano
Salt and pepper to taste
To start this recipe you need a large pot of salted water to be on the stove at a high heat, getting ready to boil.

Take a large bowl and place in it all of the ricotta, flour and cheese. Then add the eggs and some fresh ground black pepper. (I do not add any salt as there is the Romano cheese, which is salty and we will poach the dumpling in salted water.) Use a wooden spoon and mix everything together very well. This will require some strength. Once the eggs and flour are well incorporated, stop mixing! Over mixing can make the dumpling tough.
Once the mixing is done you are ready to poach your product. You can do these one of two ways; using a tablespoon for shaping or piping out of a size 20 pastry bag.
If you are using a tablespoon, place some of the mixture in a smaller bowl. By now the pot of salted water should be at a rolling boil and you can lower the heat so it is at a slow but steady boil. Dip your tablespoon in the hot water and then scoop some of the mixture against the side of the bowl. You then dip the spoon into the pot of boiling water till it comes off the spoon. Continue doing this at a steady pace until the amount in the bowl is finished. When you put the gnocchi in the pot they will sink to the bottom and as they cook, rise to the top. You will allow them to cook at least a couple of more minutes that way. Lift a few out and press them gently with your finger. The dumpling should be firm not soft to the touch. Remove them with a slotted spoon or a small strainer, placing them in a bowl of cold water. Shocking the gnocchi in the cold water helps them to set. After about 5 minutes in the ice water they will settle to the bottom. Remove them from the water and lay out in a single layer on a paper towel lined sheet pan. Allow the gnocchi to air dry.
The second way is to put the dumpling mixture into a pastry bag and squeeze out (I usually count to 3) and then cut of the dumpling and let it fall into the boiling water. Everything else is the same way as the tablespoon directions. Don‘t forget to shock after the dumplings are fully cooked.
At this point the dumplings can be held in a container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Now what do we do? I always like to melt sweet butter, add some chopped fresh sage and then the dumplings to the hot pan. Let them sit for a few minutes, developing a little bit of a caramelized crust. Then quickly shake the pan letting them move and heating up evenly. Do not keep your heat on so high that you burn the butter and the dumplings. Once they are cooked place them in a warm bowl and garnish with grated or shaved Parmigiana cheese.