Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ricotta Gnocchi

My baby brother is always inspiring me with his delicious cooking knowledge! He recently graduated from culinary school and works at an awesome restaurant. He's no food snob and enjoys to sit back and let me (or our dad) do the cooking whenever he gets the chance.

So, the gnocchi story... so baby bro stopped by a while back and made us all dinner... pan-seared flounder with roasted potatoes and spinach with fresh cucumber salsa. YUM!

The inspiration part came in when I mentioned I'd picked up a carton of ricotta and didn't know what to do with it all. I will admit, who buys 2 lbs of ricotta cheese if she knows NOT what to do with it? I am a creative and resourceful type and his first recommendation was ravioli. I lamented that I'd have to make my own pasta and that sounded hard. I've seen Mario and Giada and Alton do it, but they have help and better-equipped kitchens. He assured me it wasn't that bad and I know how to make biscuits from scratch, so that's a start.

So I cleaned off my meager counter and dumped out flour, followed by eggs, a pinch of salt and a little bit of olive oil. After it rested, I rolled it out, split it and mixed some of the ricotta with chopped spinach, herbs, an egg and some shredded cheese. I then proceeded to make the cutest little round raviolis. But it didn't end there...

I had leftover dough and leftover filling. In my search for more ways to use the ricotta (there's always lasagna and calzone), I found a recipe on cooks.com for Ricotta Gnocchi. I know these aren't "real" gnocchi because there's no potato, but for a first-timer, why not? So I mixed the remaining fresh dough and filling and a little more flour until I got the consistency right, then rolled them out, sliced and shaped the little pillows of dough. Mmmm... I may never go back to the pasta aisle! Potato gnocchi are for another time.

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