one word: gnocchi.
the first time i had gnocchi was sometime around middle school - and i was a changed not a girl not yet a woman. anytime i saw it on the menu, i ordered it. i didn't care if it was good or bad, i wanted it. and finally, in my first summer home from college, i made it. potato gnocchi. it took hours and a potato ricer (i had no idea those existed) and all the strength my arms could muster. it was a one and done kind of deal.
that was, until i realized there were two kinds of gnocchi - potato gnocchi and ricotta gnocchi.
the latter is much easier to make, is smoother, less heavy, and doesn't take the strength of the entire "magic mike" cast in order to form the dough.
i followed this recipe this time.
the ingredients are easy to come by, but i used fat free ricotta instead of whole milk ricotta. i tend to stay away from items that are fat free - i'm wary of the chemicals used to make it fat free or it just doesn't taste good. but in this case the first concern is null - the ricotta is fat free simply because it's made with skim milk, not fabricated in a lab somewhere. secondly, we use the ricotta to influence the texture of the gnocchi, not to provide flavor - a perfect opportunity to take the calorie count down by substituting fat-free in my opinion.
mixing the ingredients together is easy peasy - next you have to roll out the dough. the recipe says to do so on a floured surface and with floured hands - let me say, use flour liberally. the dough is sticky, sticky, sticky. i floured my surface and hands multiple times - do not be shy with your flour!
so, roll out a portion of the dough into a long piece - about an inch wide. i made half of what the recipe called for and rolled out four to five pieces of dough in this manner. slice into pieces on an angle and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. i would say i made some of my pieces too big - and my some i mean 90%. depending on your tastes though, feel free to make the gnocchi as big or as small as your heart desires. cook the gnocchi in boiling water - it will be done when it floats to the top, about two to three minutes. any gnocchi you don't use can go into the freezer and be used for dinner later in the week. (tip: if you find your gnocchi falling apart or turning mushy in the water, refrigerate or freeze it for about 30 minutes before cooking - it will hold it's shape better this way).
and, like every other pasta, gnocchi is just a vehicle for the sauce - in my case, pesto. but, like every other pasta, it will pair with any sauce you're in the mood for - enjoy!