Friday, June 24, 2011

ricotta gnocchi with asparagus and peas

If you can remember to drain your ricotta in advance, then this dish is quick and easy to prepare. And you can say that you make your own gnocchi, which is one of those things that impresses people. Or course, you could make your own ricotta to start with and be over-the-top impressive. Or other people (ie one’s husband) can brag about your cooking and you can remain modestly in your kitchen.

The inspiration for this dish came from a 2010 issue of Bon Appetit. On the cover they had a gorgeous picture of fettucine with asparagus and peas. I’d made it last year, following the recipe pretty closely and it was good. But I wanted a tweak and came up with the idea of using the sauce with ricotta gnocchi. And since I had a bunch of chives I put chives in the gnocchi. The original recipe for the ricotta gnocchi comes from eat, make, read from a couple of years ago.

Ricotta Gnocchi (based on a recipe from eat,make,read)
1 tub (15 oz/ 296 mL) ricotta cheese, drained for at least 20 minutes
1 egg
Handful of chopped chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1-1 ¼ c flour

In a bowl, add the ricotta, egg and seasonings and mix well. Add the flour ¼ c at a time and blend well. Keep adding flour until a dough can be formed with the flour and all the flour is incorporated into the dough – I used 1 c. Form the dough into a ball and cut the ball into 4 equal (ish) quarters. Roll each quarter into a log about 1” in diameter and about 12” long. Cut the log into 12 equal (ish) pieces. Press the tines of a fork over the top of each piece to make the “gnocchi” marks for the sauce to stick in.

Boil a pot of salted water and drop the gnocchi in. Cook until the gnocchi float to the surface of the water and drain well.

Asparagus and Pea Sauce (based on a recipe from Bon Appetit)
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 c frozen peas
1 shallot, minced
4 rashers of bacon, sliced (optional)
4 garlic scapes, roasted and cut into 1” pieces OR 1 garlic clove minced
handful sliced mushrooms
1/3 c cream
½ c grated parmesan cheese

Roast the asparagus in a hot oven (400 deg F) for about 5 minutes or until slightly browned. Meanwhile sauté the shallot in a bit of olive oil or with the bacon slices if using. Add the mushrooms. Once the mushrooms are cooked and browning a bit, add the peas. Once the asparagus is roasted, cut into 2” pieces and add to the pan. Add the cream and cheese to finish.

Add the drained gnocchi, toss gently to coat and serve.

We've eaten this a couple of times in as many weeks - it's a great recipe (see draining ricotta) for a weekday supper out of the ordinary.

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