15 August 2010

Ricotta Gnocchi with Cherry Tomato and Olive Sauce

Ricotta Gnocci with Cherry Tomato and Olive Sauce

Welcome once again to Meatless Mondays here at More Than Burnt Toast. Around the blogosphere for some time now I have seen bloggers who are joining the Meatless Monday movement all across the world to show their support for our planet. Whether you join your fellow bloggers, restaurants or chefs like Mario Batali in going meatless even one day a week we have all accomplished something. Cutting out meat and other animal products is the most powerful way for each of us to fight climate change and reduce our ecological footprint as well. Meat free meals are so nutritionally sound and provide proven health benefits. Whether you follow suit for these health benefits or to show your support for your local farmers going meatless at least one day a week will benefit us all in one way or another.

This dish was inspired by Michael Smith, a Canadian chef, who made a roasted tomato sauce to accompany his version of these pillowy, tender morsels. Roasting our tomatoes would be perfect for the winter when tomatoes are less than perfect but when our gardens and farmers markets are laden with sun-ripened tomatoes of every shape, size and sweet perfection it seemed like sacrilege to tamper with them too much. Therefore I made a very quick tomato sauce using a kaleidoscope of colour and flavour from our local farmers market.

I am sending this dish over to the party at Presto Pasta Nights the brainchild of the illustrious Ruth of Once Upon a Feast. This is one of the longest ongoing parties in the blogosphere since it has been in the forefront for over 3 years now. Now that's a party!!!This week the party is being hosted by expat Katie of Thyme for Cooking whom I have been following for almost as many years from her kitchen in France. Check out her adventures with mon mari and their renovations.

**Ricotta Gnocchi with Cherry Tomato and Olive Sauce**

Ricotta Gnocchi

2 lbs. baking potatoes (about 6)
Coarse salt
2 eggs
1 cup fresh, good quality ricotta cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for topping)
2-3 cups flour, plus more for dusting

Peel and quarter the potatoes, putting them in a medium stock pot with enough water to cover the potatoes with one inch of water. Add a handful of coarse salt. Put the potatoes to boil until they are tender when pierced with a fork, but not mushy. Drain the potatoes.

Put the potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer. (Or mash very finely with a fork.) In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, eggs, Parmesan and ricotta, and mix well using your hands or a fork until consistent dough is formed. Be careful not to over mix.

Add the flour a half cup at a time, mixing each time by hand until there is a soft, pliable dough. The dough should not be sticky, and it should not be hard. If it’s too sticky or soft, the gnocchi will be mushy, but if there’s too much flour, the gnocchi will be chewy and tough. (This is the only challenging part!)

Knead the dough a few times until uniform, adding some more flour if needed, and divide the dough in half.

Flour a work area, and roll the dough out into a long thin roll about 3/4 inch thick. Cut these tubes of dough into sections about 1 inch long. Meanwhile, bring a stock pot of water to a boil.

There are a variety of ways to ‘mark’ the gnocchi-all just a style choice, since at this point, they are more or less done. Here are some suggestions: Mark an indentation in the center of each gnocchi with your index finger; or roll over the side of a cheese grater to make patterned indentations; or roll over the backside of a fork, or roll over the center of a wooden gnocchi tool.

Note: for more dense gnocchi, roll lightly, just enough to mark the dough. For light fluffy gnocchi, roll on a gnocchi tool (available in any Argentinean grocery) and press firmly so that the gnocchi rolls around the tip of your thumb and resembles a little ear. Tip: If using the gnocchi tool, flour the ridges periodically so that the dough doesn’t stick as it’s being pushed into the grooves.

At this point, the gnocchi can be frozen laid out on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. After they are frozen, they can be stored in a freezer bag. Frozen gnocchi are just put into the boiling water like the unfrozen ones.

To make the gnocchi, either fresh or frozen, throw the gnocchi one at a time into the boiling water. (If you throw them in by the handful, you will get one big glob of gnocchi.)They are cooked when they rise to the top. (Less than 5 minutes) Collect with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Serve with the sauce of your choice.

NOTE: I divided the gnocchi dough in half and added pesto to one half and parsley to the other.

**Cherry Tomato and Olive Pasta Sauce**

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 pints cherry tomatoes, de-stemmed
4 onions, peeled and chopped
1 head garlic, peeled and sliced
1 cup Kalamata black olives, pitted and halved
1 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Sprinkled sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In large saute pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil add onions, garlic, olives, thyme, salt and pepper  and saute until tomatoes crack and release their juices, approximately 5 minutes. The sauce is done when it begins to brown here and there, the tomatoes shrink and it smells amazing.

Toss with your favourite pasta or as here with gnocchi!

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips

42 comments:

  1. Love your photos! And the dish! As someone with cherry tomatoes plants that are going crazy - looks perfect.

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  2. I adore rustic sauces like this Val...the ricotta gnocchi look like little pillows.

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  3. A great Italian dish!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. Well, you know how I feel about THESE! YUM!
    xoxo Pattie

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  5. Well, you know how I feel about THESE! YUM!
    xoxo Pattie

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  6. This looks amazing! I have never made gnochi but is one of those foods to learn to make in the future.

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  7. A "kaleidoscope of color and flavor"...that's exactly what I like to hear, see, and taste.

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  8. The ricotta gnocchi sound so light and wonderful with the tomato & olive oil sauce!

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  9. Lovely colours and a fantastic picture. YUM!

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  10. Great meal for Meatless Monday! I have really been wanting to make my Gnocchi. It's on my list. My list keeps getting longer!

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  11. Oh I agree with everything you say about cutting out meat from your diet. Fortunately, Mexican cooking is very good at that and I am really enjoying my experience down here. Ricotta gnocchi sounds amazing, especially with that delicious looking sauce.

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  12. I love gnocchi and I'm not sure if I like the ricotta ones better than the potato ones. Maybe I should sample a few more...

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  13. Perfectly summery. And pretty to boot!

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  14. The gnocci sounds delicious! (And what a great way to use the tomatoes from my prolific cherry tomato plants.) Thanks!

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  15. That recipe looks delicious & I love your idea of the Meatless Mondays! As a true protein fan I see the upside of rolling with the veggies one day a week. Thanks for the info & look forward to your next post - Cheers!

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  16. Gnocchi with ricotta...I'd love to try it...I love gnocchi, but never had a ricotta version...it sure looks delicious.

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  17. The whole dish is just so appetizing! The flavour combos here are just perfect!!

    A grand dish of real flavours!

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  18. Hi!

    Love your photos! And the dish! As someone with cherry tomatoes plants that are going crazy - looks perfect.thanks for sharing this.



    John Williams
    Zubaida Appa

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  19. I had no idea that gnocchis could be made with ricotta! Must be giving them extra softness and moisture! yum! It is only 9am and I want to try these!!!

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  20. wow! what a delicious recipe site! thanx 4 sharing!

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  21. Great photos and it sounds delicious! I've never made gnocchi and must try this as it looks like a perfect meatless dish!

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  22. This has my name all over it. Creamy, tangy, fruity, sweet and savory. I've never done this with ricotta and now am compelled to. Yes, meatless at least once a week (or more) is definitely the way to go.

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  23. Oh Joy! Another delicious use for our abundant tomatoes. I can't wait to try this recipe. The gnocchi are calling out to me and I'm ready to hit the grocery aisles.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  24. I don't make gnocchi nearly often enough... Love the simplicity of the sauce and the robust flavours!

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  25. What a fun idea, meatless mondays! I don't eat enough veggies, but a gnocchi like this with tomatoes on the side might just make me cross that bridge!

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  26. Roasting the cherries toms is a great idea. Sometimes cherry tomatoes are too sweet for a sauce and this idea fixes that problem by concentrating the flavors. GREG

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  27. These really look so appetizing! I am so suprised to find out that sauce comes form Micheal Smith. I must start watching his show; I had no idea. Thanks.
    Rita

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  28. I will try your recipe with cretan cheese called mizithra.Your olive sause looks very nice.

    Sorry for my bad English.

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  29. Classical and incredibly tasty proposition for summer....could it dishes like that all the time :)

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  30. gnocchi? meh, it's okay. it usually sinks right to the bottom of my tummy, and i don't like that. ricotta gnocchi, on the other hand, sounds light and delightful. i love the sauce too!

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  31. I love the rustic aspect of this gorgeous dish. Perfect for a busy weeknight meal or one to savor during a summer evening.

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  32. val-This is the perfect recipe to prove to people that meatless Mondays aren't about deprivation, but about deliciousness.

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  33. This dish is the absolute essence of summer in my books! I wonder whether I could substitute ricotta with the Greek anthotiro. I guess I'll never know until I try!

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  34. Pillows of air... what's not to love about theses Val. I love meatless days because that's when I truly push myself to experiment. This dish is moorish...YUM!

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  35. This Italian dish looks great! Thanks for sharing this. I know my hubby would love it.

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  36. Val...I truthfully never really fancied gnocchi before...maybe because I felt they were too heavy with potato. Yours with Ricotta sound interesting...maybe one day I'll try these out. Better yet...I'll pass it on to my Mom-in-law who loves doing these preparations ;o)

    Ciao for now,
    Claudia

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  37. I'm glad to see gnocchi today--I need all the info I can get. I'm finally going to attempt making gnocchi this Friday. I've been afraid of trying for the longest time, but now I'm excited to give it a whirl. Mine will be meatless too!

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  38. The sauce is killer. In the fall, I roast all of my millions of cherry tomatoes with garlic and olive oil and maldon salt and freeze them YUM!

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  39. I'd go meatless just to get some of this.

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  40. Great dish... Gnochhi looks so light and the sauce is delightful.

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  41. The ricotta gnocchi looks so delicious I wish I could eat it right now!
    I'm so going to make this tomorrow, we're going to have guests from abroad and I'm sure they're going to love it!
    Thank you so much for sharing
    ~foodintandem

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  42. Love what you have posted here about Meatless Days, such a wonderful idea. I don't eat meat but do eat seafood, and only a couple times a week. But my family does eat meat and have over the past few years cut back to only a couple times per week. Love this gnocchi dish, and the photos are lovely :)

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Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

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