Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ricotta and Scallion Gnocchi

There are certainly perks to being single and not having a roommate.  One such perk is that nobody is around to judge you when you want to eat chips or popcorn for dinner, or when you eat pasta with butter and garlic salt for three days straight.  When things in my life get really busy, something has to give, and occasionally it's cooking.  These past few weeks I've been moving nonstop, working on a fundraiser, meeting up with friends, getting ready to start a new job, and preparing for the marathon this Saturday.  With all of that going on, my kitchen time has fallen by the wayside and I've enjoyed many atypical meals!  I also had a stellar brunch at Tilia and another one at Wild Acre Eatery, and had the pleasure of a few lunches at the food trucks in St. Paul.  So I haven't been a complete lost cause!

But things are settling down and I was feeling unbalanced.  I stole a friend's cookbook while babysitting her kids and realized I needed to get back into the kitchen and start eating deliciously again.  A recipe for gnocchi made with ricotta cheese and scallions sparked my interest and I figured it would be a great preparation meal for Saturday's marathon! The pasta turned out wonderfully.  The scallions added a little bit of spring freshness to what can sometimes be a dense dish and the ricotta made the pasta light and creamy.  Paired with a simple tomato sauce, you'll have a perfect springtime pasta dish. 

Ricotta & Scallion Gnocchi
from Simply Organic by Jesse Cool
serves 4

16 ounces full-fat ricotta cheese
7 scallions, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups - 2 cups all-purpose flour

Place the ricotta in a colander and allow it to drain over a bowl for 15-30 minutes.  Discard the liquid.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil. 

In the meantime, combine the ricotta, egg, salt, pepper, green onions, and Parmesan cheese in a medium bowl.  Gradually add the flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, and combine the ingredients with your hands until the dough holds together in a ball and is no longer insanely sticky. 

Remove a teaspoon-sized piece of the dough and roll it into a ball on a floured surface.  Drop the ball into the boiling water.  If the dough falls apart in the water, add more flour to the dough by tablespoons until it forms into a ball.  Repeat the test until the ball holds together and floats to the surface. 

Divide the dough in about 6 equal parts.  Roll out each section on a floured surface into a rope about one inch in diameter.  Cut the dough into one-inch pieces and lightly press each piece with a fork.  At this point, you can toss the gnocchi in flour and freeze for later. 

If you plan to cook the gnocchi immediately, salt the boiling water generously, and gently drop the gnocchi in the boiling water in batches.  Stir gently to prevent them from sticking.  About 5-10 seconds after the gnocchi rise to the top, remove them with a slotted spoon and place into a serving dish.  Repeat as needed. 

You may serve these gnocchi with a simple tomato sauce or even with olive oil or butter.   

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