Gnocchi (pronounced neeyo-kee) are small dumplings. They should be light and have a soft texture not dense and rubbery (often the case in many restaurants).
In Italy, gnocchi are eaten as a primo piatto (first course).
Growing up in a Sicilian household, I never ate this Northern Italian specialty until I visited Venice. I was sitting in a small cafe off the grand canal (way off) and witnessed many of the locals enjoying a bowl of fresh ricotta gnocchi. These delicious little dumplings were served in a sea of fresh tomato sauce. Thank heaven there was a chunk of bread to sop up every last drop of sauce or I might have just licked the bowl clean.
Like most Italian dishes, there are many recipes for gnocchi and they vary from town to town. This recipe is easy to prepare and pairs nicely with a simple tomato sauce that doesn’t overpower, thus, allowing the flavor of this delicate gnocchi to shine. Expect to get approximately 36 gnocchi from this recipe, which is enough for four servings. Remember these rich delicious dumplings can be quite filling depending on what else you may be serving with them. I suggest an arugula salad with warm balsamic dressing and if you wish to add meat to the menu, try carpaccio or fresh herbs and citrus chicken. Buon Appetito!
- 1 cup fresh ricotta
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated, plus more for serving
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup flour
- Olive oil for drizzzle
- In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, egg and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper.
- Gently stir in the flour, you want the dough to be soft and hold together (it’s fine if it’s a bit sticky). Be careful not to over mix (the gnocchi will be tough if you do). Refrigerate 2-3 hours or overnight.
To cook the gnocchi, fill a large pan with 3-inches of water, bring to a simmer, (do not boil or gnocchi will fall apart) add salt.
Add several gnocchi to the pan, (they will sink to the bottom) cook 3-5 minutes. (They will float to the surface when they are done).
To serve, ladle warm tomato sauce into bowls, top with gnocchi, a drizzle of olive oil and a generous amount of finely grated parmesan.