I call them an Army of Pillows

Making gnocchi is one of those things that I forget to do.  I have to remind myself like, “hey man, you know what you haven’t done in a looong time? Gnocchi.”  And then I go to the kitchen and if I have some potatoes and an egg,  then I make potato gnocchi. But if I happen to have some ricotta and an egg… come on, no contest. Time to gnocchi, mofo’s.

Whipping up these bad boys had always appeared like a time consuming task – until of course I tried it myself and realized they take about as much time to make as it takes the water to come to a boil. And by my standards that is pretty darn quick.  The jazzing up part can come from your sauce. I often opt for a sauce of the creamy variety to pair with my gnocchi. But they are beautiful when smothered in the red stuff, if you have some herbs and nuts the pesto version is dreamy.

This recipe also called for a bit of parmesan which I didn’t have, but for the sake of getting the job done I grated a bit of whatever nub of hard cheese was left in the back of my cheese drawer.  That’s precisely  why we save such things, right? For those exact moments, when all you need is a smidgen!

 Ricotta Gnocchi on the fly
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon ricotta
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup grated parmesan or other similar cheese
1 cup of flour plus more for dusting
In a big bowl, mix everything except the flour with a wooden spoon. Once combined add the flour and mix.  The dough will be a little sticky. I tend to dust my hands and form a ball. If the dough is too sticky for this add more flour a little at a time. You really don’t want to add more flour but if the dough is too sticky to form into a ball then it certainly will not roll out into logs.
*in the meantime put a pot of water on the stove to boil
Once it comes together a bit dust your cutting board with flour – working in small clumps, grab a bit of dough and roll it out on your board (be sure to dust your hands, too.) You want to create small logs that are about the width of your finger.  Dust your knife and cut the log into small PILLOWS.  I love this part because the force of the knife cutting through the puffy log really does make them look like little pillows!
Place them on a board or tray with baking paper until you are ready to boil them.   The army forms rather fast once you get the hang of it.
Once the water comes to a boil drop the temperature down to a gentle simmer and then plop your pillows in for their bath, stir them once to ensure they don’t try to stick.  Also, I don’t like to overcrowd the pot so I work in batches. After 3 minutes or they should start to rise to the surface. Once the group is all there I count to 30 and then scoop them out with a big slotted something or another.  If all goes as planned I already have a simple sauce waiting and the gnocchi go right into the sauce. this saves the embarrassment of an entire batch of gnocchi sticking together in your sink as they cool.
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