This dish was made just for Charisse, an Italian dish baked with cream, cheese, and fresh herbs and vegetables. But this recipe has a twist, ricotta gnocchi! Now Charisse and I are both fans of the famous potato gnocchi, but neither of us have ever done a ricotta gnocchi before. Charisse pulled this recipe from one of Rachael Ray's holiday magazines, and has been holding onto it for about 2 years now. Last week we were having some friends over and finally decided to try it out. Now keep in mind that ricotta gnocchi aren't as cute and compact as potato gnocchi but they are definitely easier to make. While potato gnocchi tend to come out as neat and tidy little football shaped foods, the ricotta is more free form and unique. We found that broiling them in the oven with the sauce improved the texture making the tops of the gnocchi brown and crispy while still creamy on the inside. Initially this dish was hard to photograph as the gnocchi and sauce were both white with only specs of green spinach. When the sauce comes out of the oven, its got a really nice browning on top, giving the dish a good contrast instead of being just a sea of white, which makes it not only easier to photograph, but it just looks tastier. Not to mention that the sauce itself was tasty, rich, creamy and full of flavor.
Pictures and Recipe after the break
Yes, as many of you have noticed and reminded me about, this post is coming late. Eric was busy Tuesday night watching the San Jose Sharks beat the Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and was too excited to focus after the overtime win. Might happen again.
Ricotta Gnocchi What You Will Need
15 ounces of ricotta cheese
3 large eggs
1/2 cup of parmesean cheese
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, eggs, and parmesean cheese together. Add the flour, salt and pepper and stir until mixed.
Fill a dutch oven with salted water and boil. Drop spoonfuls of the ricotta batter into the boiling water and cook for around 6 minutes. When the gnocchi rise to the top of the water they are done. With a slotted spoon, scoop out the gnocchi and drain them on a paper towel.
Spinach Sauce What You Will Need
2 Tbs butter
1 large onion (minced)
1 Tbs flour
2 cups cream
1/2 tsp nutmeg (freshly zested if possible)
salt and pepper to taste
5 ounces spinach ( I added more because I love spinach!)
Preheat the Broiler
Melt the butter in a skillet, add onion and cook until softened, then add the flour and cook about 2 minutes. Pour in cream and simmer until thickened. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add spinach and combine.
If you are using a oven safe skillet (like a cast iron one) then mix the gnocchi right into the sauce, otherwise transfer both the sauce and gnocchi in a baking dish. Top with the rest (1/2 cup) of parmesean cheese and bake until golden brown and bubbly, around 5-10 minutes.
On an unrelated note, we like to take pictures of our ingredients, and the whole cooking process, but honestly, we can only take so many pictures of diced onions and minced garlic before they all basically look the same. From here on out were only going to take pictures of the basic ingredients being prepared if we're doing something radically different. So here's the last picture of us sautéing onions for a while!