Why, hello there! It's nice to see you too. It's been a little bit of a busy time around here. Someone turned one, and then turned thirteen months, and now is lurching around like the cutest little drunken hobo in the world, and work has been busy, and we're trying to pack up our lives to move, and...well, life just took over.
But here's some food. A few months ago we went out to dinner and brought home some leftover gnocchi for Henry. He loved them. I figured I would try to make some at home, since some versions, at least, are pretty easy. I didn't want to make the traditional potato-based kind, since boiling, peeling, mashing (really, ricing, and I don't have a ricer) seemed like too much work.
So lo and behold, in the March issue of Food and Wine, there was a recipe for ricotta gnocchi from Michael Symon, tucked into a Lexus ad. First lesson: recipes in advertisements apparently are not checked for accuracy, and are pretty loosely written. The instructions for the homemade ricotta would only have made half of the ricotta the gnocchi recipe called for. I made extra because I wanted some ricotta to spread on toast or what have you, but I barely had enough. The rest of the recipe was fine. Pretty good, actually. Here it is.
1 quart whole milk (I read somewhere not to use ultra-pasteurized)
juice of one lemon (zest it first and use zest for gnocchi)
1/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t sugar
Line a colander with cheesecloth and put in the sink. In a small pan, heat milk to 180 degrees (approximately when it starts to simmer). Remove from heat and add lemon juice, salt, and sugar. Stir until curds form. Using a skimmer or small strainer, scoop ricotta into colander and let drain slightly. Use immediately, or refrigerate and use within 2 days. Makes a scant one cup.
3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
zest of one lemon
1/4 t kosher salt
1 cup ricotta
1 large egg
1. Combine flour, parmesan, lemon zest, and salt in a bowl. Add ricotta and egg. Using a wooden spoon or your fingers, combine well until the dough just comes together. Try not to overwork it.
2. Scrape the dough onto a well-floured surface and pat it into a rough square. Cut the dough into thirds using a bench scraper or knife. Using your hands, gently roll each piece into foot-long ropes about 1 inch in diameter. Place the ropes on a plate and refrigerate uncovered for five minutes, or up to 2 hours, to rest.
3. When the dough has rested, place the ropes on a floured surface. Cut each rope into 1/2-inch pieces with a bench scraper or knife and set aside.
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2-3/4 pound mixed mushrooms, sliced (I used oyster and shiitake)
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
juice of one lemon
2 large handfuls baby arugula
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 T water
12 large leaves flat-leaf parsley
1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, add 4 T butter to a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. When the butter foams, add the mushrooms and saute until they begin to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt and saute until fragrant. Add the garlic and reduce heat to medium. Add the lemon juice and arugula and saute just until arugula wilts. Turn off the heat and set aside.
2. When water comes to a boil, salt it well, and cook gnocchi for 1 minute. While the gnocchi are cooking, heat 3 T butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When the butter is brown and fragrant, drain gnocchi and add to the pan. Cook, turning occasionally, until gnocchi are brown and crisp on all sides, 5-6 minutes. Pour in the mushroom sauce, turning to coat. Add remaining T butter, parmesan, and water, stirring until the sauce emulsifies and forms a silken coating.
3. Turn off the heat. Spoon the gnocchi into 3 shallow bowls, garnish with parsley leaves, and serve immediately, dusting with additional parmesan if desired.
Serves a not-very-hungry 3.