Ricotta Gnocchi with Prosciutto, Peas, and Mint

We actually made our own gnocchi. It always sounded so intimidating, but we decided to try. We got the recipe from Eric Ripert’s cookbook titled “Avec Eric”. A lot of the dishes seem to be focused on spring/summer produce but we were able to work with this one.

He calls for fresh peas, but we used frozen. We forgot to buy ricotta salata, so we used one cup of fresh ricotta to make up for that.

Probably the most difficult thing was rolling out the gnocchi. Mark did a much better job than I did. It kept breaking up when I tried to roll it out. Maybe if we had refrigerated it for a bit it would have been easier? Anyway, it’s totally worth the trouble because this dish is DELICIOUS! We froze half of the gnocchi to use at another time. It just needs to boil a little longer when frozen.

And if you want to keep it vegetarian, just leave out the prosciutto.

Ingredients

2 cups fresh shelled English peas (we used frozen peas)

1 pound russett potatoes, baked, peeled, and put through a ricer

1/2 cup loosely packed grated ricotta salata (we used regular ricotta cheese)

1/2 cup fresh ricotta

2.5 cups all purpose flour plus more for dusting

Freshly grated nutmeg

Fine salt and white pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

1 garlic clove, finely minced

4 ounces sliced prosciutto, julienned

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, julienned

Directions

Bring a large pot of salt water to a boil.

Blanch peas in the boiling water for 3-5 minutes, until tender (maybe just a minute for frozen peas). Using a strainer, remove the peas from the water and transfer the strainer to an ice water bath to stop them from cooking. Strain the peas and set aside.

Change the water in the pot and bring to a boil.

Put the riced potatoes in a large bowl and spread them out to cover the bottom of the bowl. Sprinkle the grated ricotta salata and fresh ricotta evenly over the potatoes and sprinkle 2 cups of the flour over the cheese. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Gently knead all of the ingredients together, using more flour as necessary, until the dough comes together but is not sticky.

Place the dough on a floured surface, cut it into 4 equal pieces, and roll out each pice into a long rope that is about 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut the ropes crosswise into 1-inch pieces and lightly dust with flour.

Spread canola oil over a baking pan to coat. Working in batches, boil the gnocchi in the salted water until they float to the surface, about 2 minutes. Using a small strainer or a large spotted spoon, remove the gnocchi from the water and place them in a single layer on the oiled baking pan. Reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking water.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft and just beginning to color, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the prosciutto and peas and saute until hot.

Add the blanched gnocchi, 1/4 cup of the gnocchi cooking water, and the butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly, adding more liquid as necessary. When the gnocchi are hot, toss them with the mint and serve immediately.

Culinary dreams

Last night I dreamt that I was good friends with Padma from Top Chef and she was dating Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin. In the dream Mark and I had lunch with them and got to enjoy many delicious treats that Ripert kept ordering. I used to dream about Brad Pitt and now I dream about food show hosts and world renowned chefs! What does it all mean?