Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Canvas for your “Palate”: Ricotta Gnocchi (with Turkey Meatballs)

A soft, light texture combines with a savory, sweet heartiness to make this the perfect contrast of taste and texture.  Serve it all year round – as a pillowy summer pasta drizzled with fresh basil pesto or a hearty winter comfort topped with your favorite ragout.    Ricotta gnocchi, a year-round canvas for your palette of sauces.

For the Ricotta Gnocchi
1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 Tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Dash of grated nutmeg
2 cups flour (plus a bit more for rolling)

In a bowl, mix ricotta, egg, and oil.  Once incorporated, mix in Parmesan and nutmeg.  Slowly mix in flour a little at a time and mix just until incorporated.

Dump dough onto a floured surface and knead with your hands, just until the dough is no longer sticky.  Work into a ball.

Cut dough into slices and roll from the inside out to make ropes the thickness of your thumb.  Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces.  Roll each piece over the back of a fork (this will help it hold the sauce).

If you want to freeze, toss the gnocchi on a lightly floured cookie sheet and stick them in the freezer.  Once frozen you can add them all to a Ziploc bag and store in the freezer.

To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Drop your gnocchi (about 10-20 at a time) into the water and stir with a long spoon so they do not stick to the bottom. When gnocchi rise to the top, they are finished.  Using a slotted spoon, take the gnocchi out and place in your serving bowls.  (Tip: I like to toast the gnocchi after they finish cooking.  I transfer the gnocchi from the boiling water to a sauté pan with a drizzle of olive oil and sauté over medium head until they turn a bit brown.

Top with your favorite sauce (try the turkey meatball recipe below) and bon appetite!
(Adapted from Food 52)

For the Turkey Meatballs
1 pound ground turkey
¼ cup dried bread crumbs (skip or replace for gluten free)
¼ cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons pesto
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
¾ teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoons black pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix by hand.  Mix just until all ingredients are incorporated.  Form into about 1-inch balls.  Preheat a skillet to medium heat and add a swirl of olive oil.  Brown meatballs on all sides in batches (about 2 minutes per side) and set aside.  Don’t worry that they are not cooked all the way; they will continue cooking in the sauce.

For the Marinara Sauce
Olive Oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1, 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ cup chopped basil or 1 tablespoon pesto
Salt and pepper

In a large skillet or pot, add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add onion and cook until just starts to brown.  Add garlic and cook for one more minute.  Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Simmer for about 10 minutes and add basil.  Add browned meatballs and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes, until meatballs are fully cooked.

To serve:
Place toasted, ricotta gnocchi in serving bowls and top with 3-4 meatballs and a spoonful of sauce.  

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Around the Table
We love good food, get excited for Market Basket & Trader Joe's, serve salad out of a pasta pot, marvel in food photography, and love to laugh. You're always welcome at our table. Click on this photo to view our "People Around the Table" album.