Little fluffy dumplings…
Pillow shaped clouds of heaven…
Sorry, you caught me daydreaming trying to describe these little gnocchi. We love making these little gnocchi(es?) What’s the plural of gnocchi? (Thanks wiki! It’s gnocco, for those who wanted to know!)
We created this recipe when we first started dating. It was one of those recipes that sparked this idea of creating a food blog, about three years ago or so. I had to dig around for the recipe, which was written down in a little black book, when we thought about revisiting it.
It’s funny how it’s the year 2017 and we still have these archaic ways of saving recipes. Even better still, we usually make a dish without writing anything down and then we decide whether or not to record what we created after eating. This can be slightly problematic because we might not remember everything and some little detail gets missed. It isn’t until you try to make it again and you just stand there looking at your recipe thinking, was I drunk when I wrote this down?
We are still on the pen and paper system at work while Nicole has binders with nicely printed recipes at her job. I like the pen and paper system because it’s quick and can be easily edited. Usually these recipes are written on little pieces of ticket paper that just get stuffed into pockets until the end of the night. By then it’s wrinkled and will get stuffed into my work note book. I probably have about 10-20 recipes written up like that, ready to transfer whenever I get a second. That’s the only real issue with this system. You usually need to hunt down recipes, but with an ever changing menu, you probably only need to hunt it down once or twice. When you go back through your notebook and look at all the old recipes, you’ll find some gems — and this is how we bring you this gnocchi!
You can make gnocchi with just eggs and flour, however we like using potatoes as well. This seems to be a popular addition to gnocchi starting around the discovery of the potato in the 16th century. We like this addition because it adds a nice and fluffy texture. A nice tip is that you can use leftover boiled or baked potatoes if you have them. Just remember they process easier when they are hot. We chose to add a lot of black pepper to the dough because something magical happens when black pepper and ricotta are combined. It also adds a nice depth to all the fresh flavors of all the green vegetables in the sauce. We also used a lot of mint here to brighten up the whole dish. Mint and peas are always a winning combination. Add the soft peppery gnocchi and this is a truly amazing dish. I think we had it for two meals in a row because that’s how good it was.
We fell in love with all the spring veggies and so we just grabbed what we saw at the market. You don’t have to use everything that we did here, but do yourself a favor and grab all fresh veggies for this dish. I highly suggest talking to your farmers, they might have something special for “friends only” that you can get — like mustard cress or something bizarre that you can throw in. It’s always going to be delicious and fresh!
Another good tip is putting your gnocchi in the freezer separately. We lay them out on a baking sheet with a little bit of flour and freeze them that way. This allows for them to freeze separately so you don’t have to chip away a huge gnocchi ice block. Once frozen, then transfer to a ziplock bag. They cook from frozen, so this is the best way to store them.
Black Pepper GnocchiPrint This
- 10 oz Russet Potato, Baked and Riced
- 1/2 Cup Ricotta
- 1 Egg, Beaten
- 1 Cup Flour
- 1 TBS Course Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Salt
On a clean surface, make a well with your potatoes. Mix the ricotta, egg, black pepper, and salt. Pour into the well. Add about half your flour around the potatoes. Start mixing the flour and potatoes into the egg mixture, adding more flour as you go until it comes together as a soft dough.
Take an eighth of the dough at a time and roll it into a long rope about the same diameter as a cork (see pictures above). Cut into pieces (see pictures above). Dust with a little flour to keep from sticking.
Drop them into a pot of salted boiling water and cook until they float. Drain and add to any sauce you like.
The best way to cook these up is in a butter/oil/fat based sauce. That way, these little guys get a nice sear on them. On this particular day, we rendered pancetta until crispy and removed it from the pan. Then we seared off the gnocchi in the pancetta fat. Last we add whatever fresh spring veggies (asparagus, peas, arugula and spring onions) we have and top it off with a ton of mint and the reserved pancetta. Even better topped off with an egg.
Happy spring and enjoy,