Little Fluffy Clouds

cross section

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.

beating the ricotta

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.

adding the flour

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.

wet and dry

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.

adding the beaten egg

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.

lined up

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.

Dinner:  April 2, 2009

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)

8 thoughts on “Little Fluffy Clouds

  1. lo says:

    Oh, YUM. I am a huge gnocchi fan… and those photos say it all. Everything looks completely delicious.

    I’m a big fan of “listening” to the dish… looks like you found exactly the right balance with the flour from doing the same! Awesome!

  2. Jennifer Hess says:

    Thanks, everyone! I was really, really pleased with these. The problem is, I want to make them again, like now. 🙂 Maybe this weekend…

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