Gnocchi with Fresh Basil & Italian Parsley

Aug 23, 2011

per·fect gnoc·chi (according to Brooke), n.
1. Light, delicate, billowy dumplings. Crisp on the outside. Creamy, buttery, rich on the inside.
2. A little bit of heaven.

All I want to say today is this: If you can make perfect ricotta, you can make perfect gnocchi.

It's just about that simple.

And then all you have to do is throw in a few handfuls of fresh basil and fragrant parsley and you've got yourself a little bit of gnocchi heaven.

Just sayin'.

Notes: This recipe is best when made with fresh ricotta (as we made here), but I don't see why store-bought wouldn't also work in a pinch. Just keep in mind that the cheese from the grocery store is not as moist as homemade, so I'd start with a little less flour so the gnocchi don't end up too dry or tough. Also, you can serve the gnocchi with whatever toppings or sauces you fancy. I love the simplicity of fresh herbs to really showcase the creamy, buttery flavor of the gnocchi while letting the herbs have a bit of a shining role, too. Any kind of pesto would dress the gnocchi up nicely, as well, or perhaps a simple garlic, tomato, and prosciutto sauce. The possibilities are endless, really, so experiment with whatever your heart desires. One final thing: If you would like to freeze the gnocchi for later use, do so just after cutting the dumpling pieces. Arrange the gnocchi in a single layer on a baking pan and place the pan in the freezer. Freeze until solid, about 3 hours. Place the frozen gnocchi in an appropriate container. To cook, boil as directed below, with no need to thaw the dumplings.

Adapted from a recen
t Instructional Dinner I attended at one of my very favorite restaurants

Ricotta Cheese

Aug 2, 2011

I've heard it said that cheese is milk's attempt at perfection. Frankly, I think cheese does a pretty fabulous job at perfecting milk... Not that milk is totally imperfect (a tall glass of whole milk is amazing, yes? Especially when paired with one of these bad boys.), but the right kind of cheese easily spells out perfection to me.
That said, the ricotta cheese at the grocery store doesn't do a very good job at trying to be perfect milk. Store-bought, generic ricotta simply holds nothing to the homemade stuff. It is f-a-r from perfect. Sure, the store-bought stuff works in a pinch or if it's not the star of the recipe, but if you haven't ever tasted homemade ricotta, you haven't tasted perfect ricotta. This stuff is so rich and creamy you'll probably think you're dreaming.
Please taste it. It will change your life... Or at least your understanding of perfect milk.
Notes: This makes a whole lot of ricotta. I haven't tried freezing it, but I have heard it might work... You could easily half the recipe, but you'll probably be like me and love the stuff so much that you'll find every excuse to use it. For example: Smeared on toast with a drizzle of honey and a pinch of salt, as a sandwich spread, dolloped on a plate of pasta, or made into gnocchi (one of my absolute favorites!).
Adapted from a few sources and my head :)
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