This post has been a long time coming. After getting down reliably good versions of both potato gnocchi and ricotta gnudi over the years, it was downright annoying that I just couldn’t seem to turn out a good version of ricotta gnocchi. I have gotten so many wonderful recommendations from people as far as recipes and methods to try out, and time and again I ended up frustrated, with something that hit short of the mark.
I took a few days off work at the end of the week, a much-needed break from routine and a chance to step back, take a deep breath, and recharge my batteries. I also decided that, with time on my hands and plenty of fresh ricotta at my disposal, I would give ricotta gnocchi one last try before the weather turns too warm for it. I was determined this time to get it right.
I looked back at what went wrong with my previous attempts, and the notes I had made thereafter, and I adjusted my technique accordingly. What I ended up with, to my delight, was a pretty darned perfect batch of gnocchi, light and fluffy, with enough structural integrity to hold up through the cooking process and no hint of chewiness.
Most of the recipes I consulted are written to serve six, so I figured scaling back and working with a smaller quantity of dough would be beneficial. For this batch, I started with one cup of ricotta (our favorite, from Narragansett Creamery), drained overnight in a strainer, wrapped in a double layer of cheesecloth.
I incorporated one farm egg (the eggs we get at the farmers market are all different sizes, but I’d say the one I used here, from Zephyr Farm, was in the extra-large-to-jumbo range), a pinch of kosher salt, a few tablespoons of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and probably 1/3 to 1/2 cup of flour, setting aside a little extra to form the gnocchi. I ended up with enough gnocchi for two generous servings.
Hand-rolling individual gnocchi, rather than rolling out a log of the dough and cutting it into segments, worked well here, with each little dumpling getting only as much handling as it needed. Also helpful: setting the formed gnocchi in the fridge for an hour or so on a sheet pan to firm up before cooking.
The biggest lesson, I think, was to just pay attention to the ingredients, to not worry about how much or little flour I should be adding, but rather, how much the mixture needed.
It took time and a lot of persistence, but I think I’ve finally ended up with a ricotta gnocchi I can be happy with.
(Full photoset here)