The other day I came across an intriguing recipe using a variety of cheeses as the base for a gnocchi dumpling. Previously, I’ve made potato gnocchi, and pumpkin (Japanese kabocha, to be specific) gnocchi, but I didn’t even realize cheese gnocchi was an option. Silly me. According to my friend Wikipedia, “Gnocchi is the Italian word for dumplings; in Italian, gnocchi is the plural of gnocco, which literally means “lump”. They can be made of potato, semolina (durum wheat), flour, or ricotta cheese (with or without spinach).” (Source: Wikipedia) Interesting! Obviously the wheat gnocchi was out, and didn’t sound that enticing anyway- but a ricotta gnocchi sounded pretty amazing. So, I modified a Moosewood recipe to come up with a gluten free gnocchi. I also tried a recipe for an interesting parsley-spinach based pesto, but due to my enthusiasm for raw garlic, it ended up being a bit much. Mixed in with brown rice spaghetti pasta with some red pasta sauce and heated (very important) the pesto was more palatable. The interesting thing about the pesto is that it didn’t contain any oil, which was a good thing in light of all the cheesy goodness in the gnocchi themselves. Instead of oil it contained three blanched and skinned and deseeded tomatoes, and actually, you didn’t miss the oil at all. A handful of parmesan helped with that, anyway. So- the meal came together and was pronounced yummy by the DH. I liked it as well. The ricotta gnocchi reminded me of a firm fresh mozarella ball, but I thought the tablespoon size dumplings were a bit too big. I had tons of “dough” left over, so I made the remaining dough into 1 1/2 tsp sized balls and froze them (unboiled) for a future meal. Who doesn’t love a little gnocchi?
Note: I am really loving my freezer. After I made pakora the other week I carefully wrapped up pakora and froze them, and now I have pakora (and indian rice) waiting for me whenever I get the urge. Toss it in the oven for 10-15 minutes and I have yummy, besan flour goodness with no effort. The ravioli also froze brilliantly.
1/2 lb grated mozzarella cheese
1 bunch parsley (handful)
3 lg cloves of fresh garlic
1 lb ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan or other hard cheese
1 1/4 cup GF flour blend- I used Bette Hagman’s gourmet blend with rice flour, tapioca starch, and cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper as desired
olive oil or melted butter
Basil or spinach pesto
GF Brown rice spaghetti like Tinkyada or Trader Joe’s brand
Bring water to boil in a large pan. Put mozzarella in a bowl with minced parsley and pressed garlic. Combine ricotta and eggs in food processor or with a mixer. Add to mozzarella in bowl and add parmesan, and flour. Season with salt and pepper. Mix and form into large ball of malleable dough. Create little balls or ovals of dough to taste. I tried 1 tbsp of dough for a large “fresh mozzarella ball” type experience, but also froze some gnocchi balls that used about 1 1/2 tsp of cheese dough. Lower heat in pan and drop in your gnocchi, simmering for up to 15 minutes. (Less time for smaller balls.) Remove with strainer or slotted spoon and drain. If you want, chill slightly in refrigerator or freezer.
Boil pasta, and ready sauces.
Heat the broiler, spray baking pan with non stick cooking spray or brush with butter and oil, put gnocchi on pan and brush with butter or oil OR spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with reserved parmesan if desired, and place under broiler until golden, turning over once if you want an even golden brown. Enjoy with pasta and sauce of choice.