Sunday, February 9, 2014

Birdie Bites - Ricotta Gnocchi

Sunday afternoon.

The perfect time for cooking experiments.

Gnocchi is one of my favorite signature dishes to make, but I've always stuck to the traditional potato variety. While delicious, it can also be time consuming, and given my recent lazy streak, I was in no mood for doing any more work than absolutely necessary.

Thus, I decided to give ricotta gnocchi a try. They're a lighter version of their potato based cousins, and involve a little less prep work.

I have to say, even as a seasoned potato gnocchi maker, the switch to ricotta definitely threw me for a loop. The dough is stickier and a little bit more difficult to work with. I highly recommend really reading the recipe I've linked below thoroughly and taking all of the tips and tricks they give to heart. You will probably have way more success than if you try to rush through things!

In an attempt to stay on the healthy side, I decided to pair my tasty little pasta pillows with a trio of veggies sauteed in garlic and olive oil, rather than a heavy cream sauce. The end result was pretty tasty! I think my traditional potato gnocchi are still my favorite, but these were still a worthy alternative.

I also just came to the realization that the only two food related posts I've written are about pasta dishes in the color of the Italian flag. Apparently my subconscious can't help but embrace my heritage. Perhaps next time I'll go for a dessert (no...not tiramisu).

I hope these food related posts are a welcome addition to the blog. I'd love to hear your feedback and if there's any recipes you'd like me to take a stab at and share with you all!

Ricotta Gnocchi with Asparagus, Baby Spinach, and Tomatoes

Ricotta gnocchi, cooked (recipe from theKitchn)
1-2 tbs olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 lb asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch spears
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 cup fresh baby spinach
Salt & pepper
Parmesan cheese

Warm olive oil in a large, round skillet over medium-low heat. Add minced garlic and sautee until softened and just beginning to brown*. Increase heat to medium/high, add asparagus and tomatoes, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Sautee for 3-4 minutes before adding spinach leaves. Add cooked gnocchi to the pan and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Top with grated Parmesan cheese, serve and enjoy!

*It's very easy to burn garlic if the oil is too hot. To really infuse the oil with the flavor of the garlic without burning it, it's best to cook it longer over lower heat. Once you've added additional ingredients to the pan it's okay to bump up the heat without fear of your garlic burning.