Missy Robbins wants you to make gnocchi.
The only thing I know for certain in these very uncertain times is that everyone is baking bread. But with all due respect to sourdough—and its legion of new fans—this should be pasta’s time to shine. If you’ve got the flour, you’ve certainly got the time; all you need is a smart place to start—a sure bet with some margin for error. Might I suggest ricotta gnocchi?
To most Americans, “gnocchi” is synonymous with potato gnocchi, a shape that is canon in both Italian-American cuisine and regional Italian cooking. But gnocchi are far from one thing. They can be made from bread, from ricotta, from a mixture of semolina, milk, butter, eggs, and cheese (gnocchi alla Romana), and even from a simple mixture of water and flour. They come in myriad shapes and sizes and are finished with as many sauces. Gnocchi, in short, are all around us.
I’ve made them every which way, but when I crave gnocchi, I crave ricotta gnocchi. At their best, they have just enough structure to differentiate themselves from gnudi (basically spinach ravioli cooked “nude,” or without their pasta cloak), and a pillowy richness that is addictive and shockingly easy to eat in quantity. The trick to avoiding the gummy fate of so many gnocchi (we’ve all had them) comes down to how you work your dough; take care not to over-knead or apply too much force when forming the shape. For light gnocchi, you must have a light touch.
While the ricotta gnocchi with broccoli pesto has become a menu constant at my Brooklyn restaurant, Lilia, at home, ricotta gnocchi with a simple red sauce is my sure bet.
RECIPE: Ricotta Gnocchi
RECIPE: Simple Red Sauce
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