As I’ve mentioned before, Food and Wine has long been my favorite cooking publication. You’d easily be able to tell if you saw my collection of magazines dating back to 1987! Some of their recipes from way back have become tried and true family favorites such as this gnocchi recipe from Dom Deluise’s mother. It’s different from the standard gnocchi in that it’s made of ricotta rather than potatoes. Now, if we ever have the standard potato gnocchi my son complains that it isn’t “real” gnocchi. It’s a long-standing family tradition at our house and I’d like to share it with you. P.S. The marinara recipe with this is excellent and can stand on its own.
Cheese Gnocchi with Marinara Sauce
One 35 ounce can Italian peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
½ pound mushrooms (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Empty tomatoes with the juice into a large bowl. Remove and discard the stem end from the tomatoes. Squeeze the tomatoes with your hands to break them up.
In a large nonreactive skillet, combine the oil and garlic. Cook gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is deep golden but not brown, about 8 minutes. Increase the heat to high, wait for 30 seconds and then add the canned tomatoes with their liquid. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the watery liquid has evaporated and the sauce is thick, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt and stir well. Add the ricotta and eggs and using a large spoon, beat until the dough forms a large bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over moderate high heat. Cut the gnocchi dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ½-inch thick rope. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces. With a knuckle or your index finger, make a dent in the center of each piece.
Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water; they’ll sink to the bottom. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the gnocchi firm up and lose their raw taste, about 10 minutes. Drain well. Transfer the gnocchi to a large warmed platter. Top with Marinara Sauce and serve hot, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and shredded basil.