Over the weekend, I made plans to again attempt a batch of ricotta gnocchi. Finding a good recipe is a bit of an ongoing project for me, and Judy Rogers’ version in the Zuni Cafe Cookbook came very highly recommended, so I figured I’d give it a whirl. Unfortunately, even though I drained my super-fresh ricotta for two whole days in cheesecloth in the fridge, and tried other ways to correct the batter, my testers were slippery, gelatinous, and inedible. But I had so much of the mixture left, I couldn’t bear to just toss it; instead I tucked it into a container in the fridge and tried to decide how to use it.
During the day on Thursday, Mike pulled the remaining meat from last weekend’s roast chicken carcass and made a pot of stock. That stock was finished by the time I got home from work, and since I didn’t have anything planned for dinner, I decided to make a quick chicken soup. I chunked up the meat Mike had set aside and added it to the stock, along with some diced carrot and thin slices of celery. We had a couple of lemons which were looking a little shriveled, so I added their juice to the pot as well. I adjusted the salt and let the whole thing come to a simmer. Then I remembered the batter.
I pulled it out of its container, tipped it into a bowl, and stirred it up. It had firmed up a bit as it sat in the fridge, but I wanted to give it a little more heft, so I added some flour, beating it in a little at a time, until the dough was as stiff as I wanted it to be. I think I put in between 1/4 and 1/3 cup total.
The carrots were tender and the soup was done, so I raised the heat just a bit as I formed golf-ball sized rounds of the dough. I gently tipped them into the soup and let them cook for 5 or 10 minutes, and was really happy to see that they were holding together beautifully. I ladled the soup and dumplings into deep bowls, added a generous amount of fresh dill, and we ate.
The soup itself was bright and tasty, but the dumplings were amazing – light, fluffy and super-tender, not leaden at all. The little bit of lemon zest that I had added to the original batter still came through, which was a nice accent to the lemony broth. I was so pleased with these that I might just forget about mastering ricotta gnocchi altogether and focus on how I can play with these dumplings… like adding some chopped fresh herbs, perhaps?