Friday, June 3, 2011

Chickpea-Ricotta Gnocchi

These were fun to make.

I had some ricotta cheese hanging out in the fridge that wanted to be consumed, and after searching the index of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, I came across this strange recipe for gnocchi made out of chickpeas and ricotta.

I've never made regular gnocchi before, and probably only eaten them once or twice in my lifetime, so we aren't even really sure we cooked them properly, but when it comes to our home cooked meals, we're pretty easy to please. No matter how they turned out, we planned to top them with Bittman's fast tomato sauce spiced with red curry paste, so you can't really go wrong there.

I thought the plate needed more color so I surrounded the meal with peas. Why not?

Chickpea-Ricotta Gnocchi
adapted from Mark Bittman - How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
serves 4

3 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained until as dry as possible.
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
About 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.

Meanwhile, put the dry chickpeas and a little salt and pepper into a food processor (he also suggests using a food mill, but I don't have one). Process until the mixture is very smooth. You will have about 2 cups.

Using a fork, stir in the cheese and nutmeg. Add 1/4 cup of flour and stir to combine. Add more flour as needed until the mixture forms a dough that you can handle, just barely. Knead for about one minute on a lightly floured surface. Pinch off a small piece of dough, roll it into a dumpling shape, and drop it into the boiling water. This is a test to make sure the dough holds its shape. If it falls apart, the dough needs more flour.

Gently roll/press the dough into a long rope about 1/2-inch thick, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Lightly press each piece with the tines of a fork if you want to be fancy. Try to handle the pieces as little as possible. You can lay them out on a tray lined with wax paper as you make them, spread out so they don't touch each other.

Add the gnocchi, a few at a time, to the boiling water and stir gently. Once they rise to the surface, wait about 20 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon. Taste one, it should taste like a dumpling. I'm new at this, so that's about as specific as I can get. We thought they tasted fine.

You can put your finished gnocchi in a pan with melted butter, or a bowl with a little bit of warm sauce, while you wait for the rest to finish cooking. Serve as soon as possible, these do not keep well.

Fast Tomato Sauce with Red Curry Paste
adapted from Mark Bittman - How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
serves 4

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or butter
1 medium onion, chopped
One 24- to 32-ounce can tomatoes, drained and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red curry paste, or more if you want it really spicy!

Add the oil or butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add the tomatoes, a little salt and pepper, and the red curry paste.

Cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, making sure to mix in the paste. The tomatoes will break up and the mixture will thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve with the chickpea-ricotta gnocchi.

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