The Roaming Foodie

Archive for October 2010

First, let me just get this out of the way. Gnocchi is such a fun word to say. Just say it a few times. Do you need another reason to make gnocchi other than just to have a reason to repeatedly say gnocchi?

If you do need another reason, then the fact that ricotta gnocchi is quick, easy, and delicious should cover it.

I first saw ricotta gnocchi being made by Anne Burrell one of those days I was visiting home and was getting my fill of the Food Network/Cooking Channel. I don’t get those channels at school, so I watch them as much as I can when I’m home. But I digress. Anne made ricotta spinach gnocchi with a quick tomato sauce. It looked wonderful, and easier to make than potato gnocchi, and tastier than potato gnocchi, since I’m not a huge fan of potatoes.  This was a few months ago when I saw her make these, and I never got around to making them, even though the thought was always at the back of my mind.

Last night, I was in a mood to cook.  I have  a brand new chef’s knife (a Wusthof, and it’s freaking awesome) and so I’m looking for excuses to chop things.  This was the night I decided to try my hand at ricotta gnocchi. Most of the recipes I looked at either took some time to make, or you had to wait for the ricotta to drain.  I wanted something quick. So I adapted it myself. And it actually turned out pretty good. I served the gnocchi with a red pepper (one might not can tell from the blog, but I am OBSESSED with red bell peppers), onion, and tomato sauce. I think you can serve it anyway you want thought: tomato sauce, pesto, and I even saw a few recipes that served it with a brown butter sage sauce. Yum.

Ricotta Gnocchi
adapted from several recipes, but mainly this one:

One container of ricotta cheese (the one I used was 15 ounces)
1/4 to 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
about 1 tsp salt
About 1/2 cup flour

Bring a pot of water to a boil.

Drain off some of the liquid from the ricotta, mainly just the stuff sitting at the top.  Stir together the ricotta cheese, Parmesan, and salt.  Add the flour little by little, until the mixture starts to come together and look a little firmer. It will be quite a sticky dough.

If you’re making the sauce, start now. The gnocchi will start to get sticky if you wait until after you’ve rolled them and cut them (but it’s not the end of the world if you forget)
Flour a board really well. You’ll need to add more flour as you go probably.  Take a spoonful of ricotta, roll it in the flour on the board until it’s coated pretty well, then roll it out to about a 1/2 inch thick log. The flour will make it keep it’s shape. Cut it into about 1/2 inch long pieces, or however long you’d like. Repeat with remaining dough.
Add a palmful of salt to the boiling water and put a few of the gnocchi in. Don’t put too many in, or they’ll stick together. Stir the gnocchi a few times so they don’t stick to the bottom. The gnocchi is done when they float to the top. Use a skimmer, spider, or slotted spoon to remove the gnocchi.

Toss the gnocchi VERY GENTLY with whatever sauce you are using.

Red Pepper and Tomato Sauce

2 red bell peppers, chopped
1/2 an onion, chopped
1/4 cup of marinara sauce
a few basil leaves, chopped

Saute the red bell peppers and the onion in olive oil until they are soft. Add just enough marinara sauce to get the peppers and onions wet, about 1/4 of a cup.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then throw the fresh basil into it.


So, here’s a story of how boyfriends can influence your cooking.

The other day while over at Andrew’s, I was in a terrible mood for no reason, and decided to bake in order to lift my spirits.

I had made Andrew blondies before, and he really liked them. I also had chocolate chips left over from brownie making that I wanted to use, so I settled on making chocolate chip blondies.

Andrew was helping me make them to keep me company, and as he was looking at all the things the recipe suggests you can add into blondies, and said, “You can put bourbon in these???”

Sigh. Andrew really enjoys whiskey. Kentucky whiskey (or bourbon, or whatever you call it. There’s a million types of whiskey, and I’m quite positive I wouldn’t like any of them).

The thought of bourbon makes me squirm (and yes, I know it tastes really good baked INTO things, just not by itself, and frankly, the raw smell of it gets to me), but he seemed so excited by the prospect of putting bourbon into this that I agreed.

And that is how my boyfriend convinced me turn these into bourbon chocolate chip blondies.

Bourbon Chocolate Chip Blondies

adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s website:

By the way, I baked these in an 8×8 pan, and they turned out rather thin (though rich, so it worked out well), but if you want thicker blondies, doubling the recipe may work.

8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Pinch salt
1 cup plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup bourbon whiskey
1/2 to 1 cup of chocolate chips

  1. Butter an 8×8 pan
  2. Mix melted butter with brown sugar – beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla.
  3. Add salt, stir in flour. Add in the bourbon and the chocolate chips, and incorporate.
  4. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F 20-25 minutes, or until set in the middle.  Cool on rack before cutting them.