In the Kitchen :: Ricotta Gnocchi with Fava Beans, Chili and Mint
Forgive the mediocre photos (you can only do so much with florescent kitchen lighting), but this dish totally stands on it's own. Not to toot my own horn, but yes, it's a pasta dish and yes, it's a must. Fresh ricotta is one of those delicious treasures that make any recipe turn into something spectacular - particularly when the ricotta is from Salvatore Brooklyn - ridiculously smooth and rich yet not heavy. As a quick side note, I had a bit of the ricotta for a quick breakfast last weekend topped with chopped pecans and drizzled with honey, oh wow. Simple but unbelievable and quite satisfying when I had about 30 seconds to get out the door.
Back to the ricotta gnocchi...this is certainly a more indulgent dinner, but it's full of fresh fava beans to pack in something green and if you serve it up as a side, it works quite well into a balanced meal. The addition of mint gives it a nice springtime spike of flavor and brightness. And when it comes to homemade pasta, you can feel quite accomplished without spending hours in the kitchen - it's fairly simple to make and doesn't require a pasta machine. Try it...trust me.
*Fyi...you can find Salvatore Brooklyn ricotta at Eataly, the Brooklyn Flea and Essex St Market at Saxelby Cheese among other local stockists. Try out their Sicilian co-op olive oil as well, well-priced with a great, fruity flavor.
Ricotta Gnocchi :: with Fava Beans, Chili and Mint
Serves :: 2
8 oz fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup fava beans, blanched and peeled
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 stalks spring garlic, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 to 2 small red chilies, seeded and finely sliced
zest of 1/2 lemon
extra parmesan or pecorino Romano for serving
To make the gnocchi, combine the ricotta, parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add in the flour and form into a dough. *Make sure that the ricotta is somewhat dry - if it's quite wet or liquidy, squeeze out excess liquid by straining it in cheesecloth. Place mixture in the fridge to chill for about an hour.
Separate gnocchi dough in 2 and roll out on a well-floured surface with floured hands into ropes about 1 thick. Create squared off edges by lighting pressing on the ropes. Cut gnocchi about 1 1/2 inches in length.
Bring salted water to a boil (2 tablespoons salt for 4 quarts of water). Cook gnocchi in 2 batches about 3 to 4 minutes each. Strain and set aside, leaving some pasta water behind.
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add in gnocchi and cook for about 3 minutes. Add in garlic, fava beans and remaining ingredients and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes until gnocchi is golden brown. Serve with extra grated parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese.
Lusting Over :: Baked Lemon Ricotta with Strawberries
Sometimes I'll taste something so beyond incredible, I feel like I've won the lottery (well, a slight exaggeration, but still). I'm currently crushing over the baked lemon ricotta cheese from Bedford Cheese Shop. Imagine the amazingness of a creamy Italian ricotta + bright lemony notes + a light cake-like texture. Paired with some fresh summer strawberries and a glass Prosecco and you'll transport yourself smack in the middle of a lemon grover on the Amalfi Coast in no time.
More Dishes you might like
Quick Pickled Rhubarb and Ricotta Crostini
Quick Pickled Rhubarb and Ricotta Crostini ::
Serves :: 4
4 to 5 stalks of rhubarb chopped, about 3 cups
1 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
8 to 12 slices of whole wheat baguette or 4 slices of whole wheat sourdough, halved
1 clove garlic, halved
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
red pepper flakes
In a medium saucepan, add rhubarb through bay leaves and simmer over medium-low heat for about 7 to 8 minutes until rhubarb is tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain the majority of the pickling liquid and set remaining rhubarb compote aside.
Rub bread with garlic and drizzle one side lightly with olive oil. Toast at 375F for 5 to 7 minutes until golden and crisp.
Spread 1 tablespoon or so of ricotta on toasts followed by a dollop of pickled rhubarb and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Drizzle a little extra olive oil over top just before serving.