Making Ricotta Gnocchi

Handmade Gnocchi

Something about this winter (is it over? can I put it in past tense now?) made me eager to try all sorts of things from scratch. I think it was all the snow/ ice days and delayed entry school days.

Once I found a recipe for gluten-free gnocchi, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Turns out making gnocchi isn’t that hard, and assuming you have a high enough threshold for mess and imperfection (lucky me! I have both!), it’s a great project to do with the kids.

It’s a little like making snakes with play dough, with just a slightly higher level of skill needed. Making gnocchi is way easier than rolling your own pasta (which is fun but exhausting), so I think we’ll have to do it again soon.

Gnocchi

I’d intended to use the quinoa-ricotta gnocchi recipe from Aran Goyoaga‘s Small Plates and Sweet Treats, but there seemed to be an error in the recipe, so I found this recipe through a Google search. If you don’t have to worry about gluten, the link recipe can be g-free or not, and I’m sure there are lots of other ricotta gnocchi recipes out there waiting for you.

A few notes on this particular recipe. One, I decided to double it, which worked fine. I froze some of the raw gnocchi to cook and eat later. Two, the raw dough tasted…um, not good would be putting it mildly. We were all worried the end result would be inedible. Strangely enough, though, when it was cooked, the gnocchi was delicious. We enjoyed it with our standard favorite tomato pasta sauce (we double a Williams-Sonoma recipe similar to this one and freeze half, so we had it on hand).

This whole process was a big hit with the kids. They found it a little tricky to roll out the snakes, as it takes a very light touch, but with a little help, they were more than happy to be my little gnocchi factory for the afternoon.

Btw, we also recently made gluten-free hand-rolled pasta. It was a frustrating process, with lots of setbacks, but I will say the recipe (from this book) was downright fantastic, better than our last attempt, and I doubt you’d know it was gluten-free if I didn’t tell you. At one point I thought, this is so hard I’ll never make it again. But then, I tasted it. If you’re going to go to the trouble, try this recipe. I ate it with Mark Bittman’s recipe for parsley pesto, which was delicious.

Gluten-Free Pasta from Scratch

Just finished Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher. Very funny, especially for writer types.

Gluten-Free Pasta from Scratch

Gluten Free Pasta

We were going to go to the pool, but it was thundery. So we pulled out our pasta crank and got going on our first try at gluten-free homemade pasta.

Hubs got me Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking as a gift not long ago, and though I’d looked at its lovely pages many times, I’d never tried anything from it. Now that we’ve got two gluten-avoiders in the house, though, I’m more inclined to try gluten-free baking and such. The book has a special gluten-free flour blend recipe. You make a big batch of it and keep it in the fridge for all sorts of recipes.

I’ve made regular pasta with the crank a few times. The gluten-free version was definitely more challenging, and the results, while yummy, aren’t quiiiite the same. Everyone ate it enthusiastically, though, and fought over who got the last bits. I’m sure it will be easier and better the next time. The kids did a great job, but my patience was definitely wearing thin by the last few cranks.

Click here for a similar recipe by the cookbook authors. Hubs and I ate the pasta with basil and walnut puree (same ingredients as in the last post, just adding walnuts. Yum! The kids are begging to try the cinnamon rolls (from the book) next.

For more of my food posts, click here. Have a great weekend!

Golden Chickpea Noodle Soup (Pasta e Ceci)

My soup kick continues, though our weather is a little better and Hallelujah! the days are getting longer. This is my less-meat answer to chicken noodle soup. It’s a go-to easy recipe, and the best part is most of the ingredients are usually in my kitchen anyway.

This is a Jamie Oliver recipe that I’ve made minor changes to. Basically you’re cooking onion, celery, and garlic together first. I added carrot into the mix, and if I don’t have the celery on hand, I just skip it. Then you’re pureeing the veggies with broth and a can of chick peas. You add a second can of chick peas whole (drained), then add pasta.

You get a rich, creamy soup with lots of hidden vegetable power. The stick blender is your friend here, a master of vegetable disguise. Make it as thick or thin as you like.

The carrots + chickpeas give it a lovely golden color, and I like using spaghetti noodles—somehow they seem more fun. I’ve been leaving out the rosemary, though it’s nice with it as well. You can always make it vegan/ vegetarian if you use vegetable broth. For grown ups: the red pepper flakes, freshly ground black pepper, and chopped parsley add a nice zing. Without the garnishes, it’s a plain-looking soup my kids like. Enjoy!

Rustic Pine Nut “Sauce”

This isn’t so much a sauce as a topping, and boy does it deliver. It’s on the must-repeat list. The ingredients are pretty simple: pine nuts, bread crumbs, red onions, with a couple of surprises like capers.

Recipe here (I didn’t use the tomato variation though it sounds good, too). Yes, it’s from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian again.

I wonder if it would be good with almonds or walnuts or pecans instead of pine nuts. I’m guessing yes. I served it on top of pasta, but I think it would also be good on top of veggies of any kind. The crunchiness has an almost bacon-like quality.

Make sure to check out the comments in the last post for a special surprise. Sarah Towle has offered a promo code for her most excellent Paris travel app for the first five responders. She’s celebrating the release of the bilingual version. Merci beaucoup, Sarah!

P.S. I just tried this recipe with half pine nuts/ half cashews, and it was totally excellent. Pine nuts are crazy expensive—I hear there’s a shortage.

If you liked this post, check out both my “recipes” page, which features recipes original to this site—and the category “food” on the left—where there’s lots more recipes and more than a few Bittman trials.

Pasta-Chickpea Salad with Tomato and Basil

I threw this together the other night with stuff we had in the house. I didn’t measure anything, but here are the basics:

  • cooked chickpeas (2 cups or so), marinated in olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper. I also smashed one clove of garlic in the marinade and later removed it.
  • cooked pasta (I used bowtie pasta made of 25% butternut squash), maybe 2-3 cups?
  • a few diced tomatoes
  • a few chopped scallions
  • fresh basil
  • cubed buffalo mozzarella (I think feta might be a better choice, as the mozzarella’s flavor was lost in the stronger ones)

It turned out really well. I liked the heft the chickpeas gave, though I think I would up the lemon (I only used a half) and lengthen the marinating time.

I’ve been entertaining family and doing a lot of small trips lately. Hope to update you on some of that soon.