22 February 2009

Making use of leftovers -- Pan-fried Lemon Ricotta Gnocchi

I bought a big tub of ricotta cheese to use in my winter greens lasagna last week, and had a good amount left over. Somewhat by chance, I stumbled upon this recipe over at Steamy Kitchen for pan-fried lemon ricotta gnocchi with a brown butter sauce, and had to try. And hell, it helped clean out my fridge.

The end result were light lemony gnocchis sauteed in a garlic oil and tossed very lightly with wilted spinach, garlic, a few spoonfuls of crushed tomatoes and some grated cheese. Perfection.

I'm a huge fan of making unconventional gnocchi (aka not white potato based), although I love those as well, having worked my high-school years in an Italian restaurant. In the past I've spent a few hours making roasted butternut squash gnochhi and sweet potato gnocchi, livening it up a bit ... and boy, are those killer with a brown butter sauce with a bit of fresh orange juice, some zest and a little bit of brown sugar. Oh man.

Anyways, these were phenomenal, and from pulling the flour out of my cupboard to sitting down eating only took 45 minutes ... which is astonishing for homemade gnocchi. I highly recommend you give them a whirl.

Pan-Fried Lemon Ricotta Gnocchi
Compliments of Steamy Kitchen, with a few minor tweaks

a cup of ricotta
1/2 cup of parmesan
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1 TB chopped parsley (I used dry ... not the same, but still good)
3 cloves of garlic, rough chopped
extra virgin olive oil
a good pinch of hot pepper flakes

Mix the ricotta, parmesan, lemon zest, salt, hot pepper flakes, parsley, and egg yolk in a large bowl. Mix in half of the flour, then gradually a bit more, saving about 1/8 of a cup. Once the dough has come together, flour your hands and work into a bowl, and put on a floured surface. Mix in the remaining flour but be careful not to overknead ... it shouldn't take much. Cut into 4 sections, rolling each out into long strands.

Flour your knife, and cut these into little inch long pieces. Some choose to roll on a fork to give a different texture, but since these are pan fried, I kept mine looking like pillows.

Heat a skillet with about 2 TB of olive oil. Put the chopped garlic in the skillet, stirring until fragrant, but not browned ... about 45 seconds. Remove the garlic. You can use it for a sauce later (which I did). Add the gnocchi, shaking the pan after they're in to make sure there's enough oil underneath to keep residual flour from sticking. You want these to have a nice brown on both sides. Make sure they're cooked thru, taste test too. Does it taste too wet in the middle? Does it need a little more color? You be the judge.

Right before they come out of the pan, I squeezed some fresh lemon juice over them, then finished cooking the second batch. And, you're done. Steamy Kitchen made a brown butter sauce to accompany, but be creative. I had spinach to use, so I took that route, wilting it with a bit of lemon juice, some crushed tomatoes, and browning up the garlic - just enough to complement the gnocchi, but not overpower -- they're flavorful enough to stand alone. :)

1 comment:

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