Gnocchi are wonderful little chewy pasta pillows. They're light, fluffy, slightly chewy, and completely satisfying. Totally nosh-tastic. And they go with anything. Top them with red sauce, cheese, pesto, or just a simple garlic butter. Gnocchi are definitely going on my "must have in the freezer at all times" list (instructions for freezing at the end of the post).
Oh, and did I mention how simple they are? There are variations made with potato but since mashing potatoes is one of my all-time least favorite activities, I went for the ricotta version. The dough comes together in a matter of minutes then you just roll it out, cut it and pop it into boiling water. Once in the water they take less than five minutes to cook. SERIOUSLY.
One more thing.... (there are just so many good things to say about these little guys) You can totally take this recipe in a thousand directions. This recipe is for the most basic, plain flavor. You can add parmesan cheese, garlic powder, nutmeg, or other herbs. You can make gnocchi in a thousand flavors! I know I'm going to. You can look forward to many many gnocchi recipes in Budget Bytes future.
The pricing below is just for the gnocchi themselves since there are so many ways to eat them. They are pictured after being sauteed in garlic butter and topped with just a bit of cheese and parsley. OMG, just talking about them makes me want another bowl.
Total Recipe cost: $2.58
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Cost per serving: $0.65
Prep time: 20 min. Cook time: 5 min. Total: 25 min.
|1 (15 oz.) container||ricotta cheese||$1.99|
|1 tsp||olive oil||$0.04|
|approx. 2 cups||all-purpose flour||$0.29|
|10 cranks||fresh cracked pepper||$0.03|
STEP 1: In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, olive oil, egg, salt, and freshly cracked pepper.
STEP 2: Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until it forms a soft sticky dough (about 1.5 cups)
STEP 3: Begin boiling a large pot of water. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead in about another 1/2 cup of flour or until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. The dough should still be very soft in texture.
STEP 4: Divide the dough into six pieces. Roll each piece out into a rope about 1 inch thick. Cut the rope into 1 inch sections. If desired, roll each piece of dough on the back of a fork to give it a ridged texture.
STEP 5: When the water is boiling vigorously, drop the dough pieces into the water. As the gnocchi boil they will begin to rise to the surface. Once all of them are floating on top, let them boil for about 30 seconds to one minute more to ensure thorough cooking. Drain in a colander.
Step 6: Top drained gnocchi with your favorite sauce or garlic butter, salt, and pepper. Enjoy!
Step By Step Photos
Start with the ricotta, olive oil, egg, salt, and pepper in a bowl. I used part-skim ricotta but that's completely up to you.
Whisk them together until it's smooth...
Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until you have a soft dough. You'll need to use a spoon rather than a whisk to add the flour. I added about 1.5 cups before I got the soft dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead in just enough flour to make the dough not stick to your hands. I kneaded in about another 1/2 cup. The dough will still be very soft.
Start boiling the water at this point. Divide the dough into about 6 pieces and roll them into ropes about one inch wide. Cut the ropes into one inch sections. You can either boil the pasta as is at this point or you can roll it on the back of a fork for more texture.
This is what I mean by roll on the back of a fork. One side stays smooth and one side gets little ridges in it. Honestly, you can't see the texture much after thy puff up during cooking so you can skip this if you want to, but this is the classic gnocchi shape.
Once the water is boiling furiously, add the gnocchi. They will cool the water down considerably so make sure you have the heat on high...
As they cook they'll begin to float...
And when they're done they'll all be floating! I let them boil for about 30 seconds more after they are all floating just to make sure they're cooked through. I didn't want a raw flour taste.
Drain the gnocchi in a colander and then top with your favorite sauce! Or...
Melt some butter with minced garlic in the still warm pot.
Add the gnocchi and coat with the garlic butter. If you have a non-stick pan, you can turn the heat on and let the gnocchi get a little crispy on the edges. I tried to fry mine but they just stuck to the pot no matter how much oil I added... but they were still delicious.
Top with a little cheese and parsley. Mmmmmmmm.
Or top with your favorite red sauce... How did I live without gnocchi?!
To Freeze Your Gnocchi:
After shaping the gnocchi (and BEFORE boiling), place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and pop it in the freezer. After an hour in the freezer, transfer them to a zip lock bag and keep in the freezer 'till you're ready to eat them. To prepare from frozen, simply drop the frozen gnocchi in boiling water and boil until they float.