The Daring Cooks #1 Zuni Ricotta Gnocchi...

So we are starting The Daring Cooks. I'm so happy that besides baking we know have challenges regarding cooking. The first one was Gnocchi, not the ordinary one but from home made ricotta. The recipe has been chosen from the cookbook by Judy Rodgers "The Zuni Café Cookbook" - Zuni Ricotta Gnocchi.

I couldn't wait to make this recipe as I LOVE gnocchi but I have never made my own... I always thought that gnocchi are made mainly from potatoes but... in this recipe they are substituted by ricotta which is a great idea! This shows that with Daring Kitchen we not only bake/cook but learn new skills and recipes. I've made my own ricotta (the recipe for ricotta was posted on the 21st April). It was way cheaper than buying ricotta and was SO easy! I will definitely make ricotta more often. I served my gnocchi with sun dried tomato, green olives and mascarpone sauce. I had some more gnocchi left for the next day - they were fried - yummy!

How to make it...

- 450 g fresh ricotta (2 cups)
- 2 large cold eggs, lightly beaten
- 15 g Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- 3 tablespoons flour (I had to add it as I couldn't form a decent gnocchi and they were breaking up during the cooking...)
- flour for forming the gnocchi

To make great gnocchi, the ricotta has to be fairly smooth. Place the drained ricotta in a large bowl and mash it as best as you can with a rubber spatula or a large spoon. Add the lightly beaten eggs to the mashed ricotta. Melt the tablespoon of butter. As it melts, add in the sage if you’re using it. If not, just melt the butter and add it to the ricotta mixture. Add in any flavouring that you’re using (i.e., nutmeg, lemon zest, etc.). Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, flour (3 spoons) and salt. Beat all the ingredients together very well. You should end up with a soft and fluffy batter with no streaks (everything should be mixed in very well).
Fill a small pot with water and bring to a boil. When it boils, salt the water generously and keep it at a simmer. You will use this water to test the first gnocchi that you make to ensure that it holds together and that your gnocchi batter isn’t too damp. In a large, shallow baking dish or on a sheet pan, make a bed of all-purpose flour that’s ½ an inch deep. With a spatula, scrape the ricotta mixture away from the sides of the bowl and form a large mass in the centre of your bowl. Using a tablespoon, scoop up about 2 to 3 teaspoons of batter and then holding the spoon at an angle, use your finger tip to gently push the ball of dough from the spoon into the bed of flour.
At this point you can either shake the dish or pan gently to ensure that the flour covers the gnocchi or use your fingers to very gently dust the gnocchi with flour. Gently pick up the gnocchi and cradle it in your hand rolling it to form it in an oval as best as you can, at no point should you squeeze it. What you’re looking for is an oval lump of sorts that’s dusted in flour and plump. Gently place your gnocchi in the simmering water. It will sink and then bob to the top. From the time that it bobs to the surface, you want to cook the gnocchi until it’s just firm. This could take 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi from the boiling water. Serve with your choice of sauce.