Gnocchi di Ricotta
Gnocchi di Ricotta and zia Liliana. Whenever I make this recipe I think of my aunt Liliana. She still prepares them for me when she wants to surprise me or cheer me up. Before she retired, she was a busy teacher and this was one of her last-minute feed-the-family easy recipes. While I have always loved these gnocchi for their delicious taste, it was only when I got my own family that I began to appreciate what she meant by 'ricetta salva pranzo' (lunch-saving recipe), because it only takes around 20 minutes to make it. I have added it to my 'minimum effort maximum result' list of recipes.
Today I started making them at 12.45 pm and by 1.15 pm we were sitting around the table ready to enjoy them.
You need only three ingredients Ricotta, Grated Cheese and Semolina Flour.
500 gr Ricotta
200 gr Semolina flour
220 gr Grated Caciocavallo Ragusano (If you cannot find it you can use Parmesan Cheese)
Use a wooden spoon to mash the ricotta in a bowl and then incorporate both the grated cheese and the semolina flour, use your hands to bring it all together into a soft dough and transfer onto a lightly floured wooden pasta board. Knead gently for a few minutes until pliable, then divide into 5 equal pieces and roll each into a log about 2 cm thick. Slice into 2 cm pieces, lightly dust them with flour and your gnocchi are ready! If you have extra time you can get nice ridges on them, rolling them gently off the back of a fork, a gnocchi-board or a fine grater.
Cook the gnocchi in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2 -3 minutes (when they start floating up to the surface they're ready). Cook about 2 portions at a time so they are less likely to stick to each other or break up, use a slotted spoon to drain them out of the water. Place them directly in a bowl with a simple tomato sauce, sprinkle with some grated cheese and they are ready to serve.
In Sicily, we usually buy fresh ricotta made in the morning and taken immediately to the shops, this means our fresh ricotta is a little bit too watery for this recipe, so I usually place it in a strainer to drain off some of the liquid or ask for ricotta from the previous day.
The size of the gnocchi depends on how much time you have. Obviously, if you want to finish quickly, slice biggish 2 cm gnocchi, if you want to make them smaller roll out a thinner log and cut them in smaller chunks, even half centimeter works. In general, I prefer my gnocchi di ricotta in the big version, because besides being faster to make, I like that big, chunky bite!
For the time-saving version, I use ready tomato sauce (in Sicily we preserve tomato sauce during the summer when tomatoes are at their best) which I quickly heat in a pot with some extra virgin olive oil, garlic and lots of fresh basil leaves. If I have time I make fresh tomato sauce. You can find my recipe here.