I am Italian, and very proud of it. When I was very young, I would stand next to my nona in the kitchen and watch her make some of my favorite pastas. My number one favorite would have to be gnocchi hands down, no competition. The word gnocchi may derive from the Italian word nocchio, meaning a knot in wood, or from nocca (meaning knuckle). It has been a traditional Italian pasta type since Roman times. It was introduced by the Roman legions during the enormous expansion of the empire into the countries of the European continent. In Roman times, gnocchi were made from a semolina porridge-like dough mixed with eggs, and are still found in similar forms today. There is a legend of Marco Polo importing pasta from China, although I like to believe that Italians were the ones to come up with this magical food staple
Gnocchi can be made with a variety of ingredients as long as you stay true to the most basic ingredient: flour. Typically Gnocchi is made with a mixture of potatoes, flour and eggs; however the beautiful thing about Gnocchi is that it can be made in a number of different ways! You can add things like potatoes and semolina flour, vegetables, mushrooms or cheeses. Any of these can be combined to make gnocchi in endless variations.
This recipe for ricotta gnocchi is so simple and ten times faster than boiling and whipping potatoes (perfect for a quick college student dinner!)
Serving 1-2 (depending on how hungry you are)
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup Ricotta
- 2 Tbsp Parmesan
- 3 Tbsp of Basil (Parsley, Arugula..)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 Tsp Olive Oil
Let the ricotta drain for half and hour before making the pasta.
Combine the ricotta with the parmesan and basil. Add salt, pepper and olive oil, mix well. Slowly add the flour until the you have a dough consistency (not all flour may be needed). Dough should be a little sticky because it is cheese and not potatoes.
Dust flour on a work space and dredge the dough with flour then roll out by hand into a rope 3/4 inch in diameter. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces and place on a lightly floured tray.
Drop the gnocchi pieces into boiling water and cook until they float to the surface (about 1 minute). Use a slotted spoon to transfer the gnocchi on a lightly oiled tray to keep them from sticking to each other.
The gnocchi can be served with almost any sauce; however, I recommend eating it with something not to over powering such as olive oil and a little salt. Once you make this gnocchi you’ll see why you wouldn’t want to over power the taste! (like my attempt at garnish…? lol)