I made gnocchi once before, and while they weren't bad for a first attempt, they were not the light and fluffy pillows of pasta that I crave when I think about gnocchi. Nearly two years later (time sure does fly, doesn't it!), I have made another attempt at gnocchi, and I think I finally figured it out this time around. The key is to have extremely delicate touch when handling the dough. As someone who has never been known for having a light touch—watch me do ten layups on a basketball hoop you'll see what I mean—I found this to be easier said than done. But just remind yourself every step of the way to have gentle hands, combining the ingredients of the dough just enough and rolling the dough as delicately as possible, and you will be well on your way to perfect gnocchi. If my clumsy hands can do it, great gnocchi is certainly within anyone's reach.
Adapted from A16: Food + Wine
- 2 cups fresh sheep milk ricotta cheese
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup "00" pasta flour or all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1/2 cup semolina flour
- In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, olive oil, and 3/4 tsp salt. Taste the mixture for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. It should be fairly salty since the flour will even out the salt level.
- Stir the ricotta mixture until it is smooth in appearance, with no large curds visible.
- Stir in the egg yolk and half of the beaten egg and stir until just combined.
- Find a large, clean work surface and coat it with 1/2 a cup of the "00" pasta flour. Spread the ricotta mixture on top of the flour, and top it with the remaining 1/2 cup of "00" pasta flour.
- Using your hands, gently fold the flour onto the ricotta mixture. Continue to do so just until the dough comes together. The dough should be slightly sticky, but should not stick to your fingers. If it is too sticky, fold in a bit more flour.
- Lightly dust a large cutting board or other large work surface with semolina flour.
- Divide the gnocchi dough into 6 pieces.
- Take one piece of the gnocchi dough and, using a very gentle touch, roll it in the semolina flour until it forms a long long about a 1/2 inch in diameter. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
- Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut each log of dough into 1-inch pieces. At this point, the gnocchi can be cooked or frozen for a later use.
- To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and wait for the pasta to float in the water, about two minutes; let the gnocchi cook for an additional minute after they float. Using a mesh strainer, remove the gnocchi from pot. Serve immediately with the sauce of your choice. Pesto or a simple tomato sauce work particularly well.