I like my Gnocchi light and cloud-like and finished in an equally light and refreshing sauce. They often end up dense and heavy which is exacerbated by a long cooked sauce with deep flavors. I hope this recipe can get gnocchi back on track and, after a few attempts, show how quick this can be accomplished.
Combine ricotta, egg and parmesan in a mixing bowl. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
Start to mix in flour. Your dough will be sticky and may appear to be too soft to work with but this is how your gnocchi will stay light and cloud like. You may want to add more flour to assist with the forming, but light pressure and patient hands are a better option.
Place your dough in the fridge while you start the sauce. I use a large flat frying pan, but whatever you have will work.
Heat your pan on medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Saute shallots, garlic and crushed red pepper until soft.
Add the can of whole tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Break apart the tomatoes in the pan while it cooks.
Add chopped fresh basil and parsley.
Stir frequently on low to medium heat for about 20 minutes while you form the gnocchi.
Place your gnocchi dough on a floured work surface.
Cut golf ball size pieces of your dough and very gently roll out into a log of a consistent width.
Cut log into ¾ inch pieces.
Hold in one hand a fork dipped in flour. Grab each piece of dough and roll it down the fork with your thumb, applying just enough pressure to leave faint grooves in the dough. In a perfect world the thumb side of the gnocchi will curl into a “c” shape and the grooves will be on the outer part of the “c”. If they do not, you can try again, but do not obsess about it. Do this over a floured tray or plate that you can use to transport gnocchi to boiling water. Repeat for the rest of the dough. Do not stack the gnocchi or let touch each other.
You can freeze your gnocchi at this point. Just keep them in a single layer, and spaced until frozen, then you can bag them together.
Boil gnocchi for about 2 minutes or until they rise to the surface. Do not overcrowd the pot.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi and place them directly in the sauce to finish cooking, about another minute or so.
Plate and top with parmesan and fresh basil.
Photographs by Alene Pierro