Wednesday, March 09, 2011

February 12th - Ricotta and Spinach Gnocchi (no Potatoes!) - Pillows of Cheesy Yumminess

Ricotta and Spinach Potato-less Gnocchi in Mushroom Cream Sauce
There is nothing like handmade Gnocchi. It's always a bit sad when you order it in a resturant to discover, they probably bought it.  Actually, I'm always surprised when an Italian restaurant doesn't make their own Pasta for that matter.  Trattoria in Kits in Vancouver doesn't despite it's price point where a little dive in the outskirts of Seattle, Bizarro Cafe makes it all.  Anyhoo, I digress.  Handmade Gnochhi are just so much more fluffy and light than factory made.  We've made the more traditional Potato variety, as well, even after swearing off the exercise off until we visited Bizarro Cafe, we thought it worth a try.

The Ricotta base rather than the Potato added an additional sort of 'meatiness' and though you might fear that the dairy base might be to heavy, it was quite the opposite.  I did make the mistake of buying a finer Ricotta than the recipe called for so we had to drain it off through a finer, clean dish towel rather than cheese cloth to eliminate some of the excess moisture.  The recipe is from one of D's favourite cookbooks from one of his favourite Bay Area restaurants, The Zuni Cafe Cookbook. I believe the recipe was published on Bon Appetite if you want to go find it :^D.  The recipe makes 4-6 servings.  Make sure to store the portions you don't use right away in extra flour, flat to prevent sticking.

Oyster Mushroom Cream Sauce

1 T Butter
1 - 2 T Olive Oil
1 1/2 c Oyster Mushrooms, separated and brushed
1/2 Shallot., minced
1/2 c Cream
1/4 - 1/2 c Pasta Water
Salt and Pepper
Fresh Parsley, chopped

While your Pasta water is coming to a boil if you're doing Gnocchi, or while the Pasta is cooking if you're doing regular Pasta....

In a skillet, heat the Butter and Olive Oil in Medium/High heat.  Sautee the Mushrooms.  Do not move too much.  Let them brown.  If you move them too much, they will steam rather than brown.  ~5 minutes.  Set the Mushrooms aside on a plate.

At this point you can start to gently place a 6-10 Gnocchi at a time into the water.  You don't want the water too be too active because you don't want to brutalise the delicate Gnocchi.  They'll float sooner than they are done, so watch the clock.

Add some more Olive Oil to the same pan on Medium heat and sautee the Scallions until softened. 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat down to low. Add the Cream and whisk gently to incorporate.  Start to use a draining or slotted spoon to bring the Gnocchi directly form the water to the pan. Do not fuss about draining the water off too much.

Continue to add the Gnocchi as they become ready.  You may want to turn down the heat under the pan to the lowest setting just to keep warm.  If the cream thickens too fast, add some Pasta water.

When you've added all the Gnocchi for two servings, gently toss.  Season to taste.  Add the Mushrooms back and toss again.  Garnish with Parsley and serve.

Fluffy Yumminess!


4 Leave a / Read COMMENTs:

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Oh, my, this looks fabulous! Homemade gnocchi, cream sauce, mushrooms? WOW!

Amy Bakes Everything said...

Ohhh, yummy! That cream sauces sounds killer! Great job!

Tiffany said...

I love gnocchi and have always wanted to make it. This looks really good, I think it's time!

Nicole@The Dirty Oven via twitter @ovenloving said...

My Grandmother used to make Ricotta Gnocchi and you are right they are wonderful and light. I have tried to make them but alas can't get it like grandma used to. Will have to give it a try again, your blog post inspired me. Thanks for sharing.