Friday, May 15, 2009

Ricotta Gnocchi: Daring Cooks #1

I did my challenge a while back because I wanted to get it done before exam pressure began, and now I'm posting one day late because I hadn't written up my post before and posting day fell on the day after my final (and worst) exam - Recovery Day ;-)

This the first ever Daring Cooks Challenge was hosted by our wonderful founders Lis and Ivonne. They chose Ricotta Gnocchi from a cookbook by Judy Rodgers, named after her restaurant: The Zuni Café Cookbook.

We were allowed to play with add-ins and the sauce. I chose to keep it simple and added a bit of mint to balance the lamb curry I'd decided to serve it with and reduced some coconut milk for the sauce.

I made my own ricotta of course and determined to do the challenge all in one day, I rigged up the following contraption to drain the cheese faster.


The challenge was fun, it was a bit tedious to shape all the gnocchi, but once I'd shaped the first four or so, it became easier to do and I finished them in what felt like no time. I wanted to try a couple other variations before posting but time didn't allow. I would most certainly make them again as they were quite tasty:

Come check us out in the Daring Kitchen to see what other DCer's did...As for Chrystal, she is going to have to explain where her challenge post is, the last I heard was that she had drained the ricotta....hmmmm.

The recipe:

Zuni Ricotta Gnocchi

Source: From The Zuni Café Cookbook.

Yield: Makes 40 to 48 gnocchi (serves 4 to 6)

Prep time: Step 1 will take 24 hours. Steps 2 through 4 will take approximately 1 hour.

Tips:

- If you can find it, use fresh ricotta. As Judy Rodgers advises in her recipe, there is no substitute for fresh ricotta. It may be a bit more expensive, but it's worth it.
- Do not skip the draining step. Even if the fresh ricotta doesn't look very wet, it is. Draining the ricotta will help your gnocchi tremendously.
- When shaping your gnocchi, resist the urge to over handle them. It's okay if they look a bit wrinkled or if they're not perfectly smooth.
- If you're not freezing the gnocchi for later, cook them as soon as you can. If you let them sit around too long they may become a bit sticky.
- For the variations to the challenge recipe, please see the end of the recipe.

Equipment required:

- Sieve
- Cheesecloth or paper towels
- Large mixing bowl
- Rubber spatula
- Tablespoon
- Baking dish or baking sheet
- Wax or parchment paper
- Small pot
- Large skillet
- Large pan or pot (very wide in diameter and at least 2 inches deep)

For the gnocchi:

1 pound (454 grams/16 ounces) fresh ricotta (2 cups)
2 large cold eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) unsalted butter
2 or 3 fresh sage leaves, or a few pinches of freshly grated nutmeg, or a few pinches of chopped lemon zest (all optional)
½ ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (about ¼ cup very lightly packed)
about ¼ teaspoon salt (a little more if using kosher salt)
all-purpose flour for forming the gnocchi

For the gnocchi sauce:

8 tablespoons (227 grams/1/4 pound/4 ounces) butter, sliced
2 teaspoons water


Until next time....

8 comments:

  1. Yes these are little clouds of yummmminess!!! I like the idea of lamb curry I thought that lamb wasn't that common in the states. Lovely machine you rigged up to drain the home-made ricotta (good on you). Great effort on this first DCooks' challenge.

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  2. Your gnocchi look so cute: plump and round! And it never occurred to me to use curry as an accompaniment - I didn't think beyond Italian seasonings, because Italy and gnocchi are so strongly associated in my mind. Great job!

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  3. Excellent idea with lamb curry, mint and coconut milk!
    This must be absolutely delicious!
    Great job!
    isa

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  4. Although not a lover of lamb (crazy, huh?) I would still eat yours! I love how the both of you cook together, and the photos in the header are precious with a capital P!

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  5. Well, I'm definitely a lover of lamb :)
    Glad you enjoyed this recipe. I cheated a bit, so mine wasn't as strenuous of a job.

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  6. Wow. You did great!
    I'm sending a little blog love your way. Check out my post to see what I mean.

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  7. my friends mom used to drain her paneer by putting it in the spin cycle haha.

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  8. Your gnocchi look great and I love the idea of your sister and you both making the recipes! Wonderful story.
    http://mickeydculinaryadventures.blogspot.com/

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