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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Ricotta Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Peas

If you love light, fluffy, cheesy, little pillows of deliciousness, then you must, must, must try making these gnocchi.  They were lovely.  I look forward to many future Sunday dinners with these on our table.  They were super easy to make and there's no rolling of the dough whatsoever.  Instead, you just pack it all into a large freezer bag, snip off the corner, and squeeze them one by one into a pot of boiling water.  Other than the occasional break to rest your squeezing hand, it's extremely quick and easy.  You could easily make these with a simple tomato sauce, but I was craving something that would take a backseat to the gnocchi, but still be rich and flavorful.  Just some butter and shallots with mushrooms and peas was a perfect compliment to the lightness of these.

I'd like to send a special shout out "thank you" to my wonderful husband, Jim, who got me my first subscription to Bon Appetit...I have always read it on-line, but I am in love with flipping through its actual pages and dog-earring recipes that I can't wait to try.  I decided that this was to be the first executed.  I did try to lighten the recipe up a little by using part-skim ricotta as opposed to whole and three tablespoons of butter instead of four...every little bit helps, people.  These gnocchi did not disappoint...far from it.  Happy spring, everyone!

Ricotta Gnocci with Mushrooms and Peas
slightly adapted from Bon Appetit
serves 6

For the gnocchi:
32 oz. part skim ricotta cheese (recipe called for the full-fat goods, but I went with part skim to lighten it up and it didn't hurt the recipe at all.)
2 large eggs
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour

For the sauce:
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 oz. cremini button mushrooms, sliced
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas, defrosted
3 or 4 Tbsp unsalted butter (I went with 3 to lessen the fat.)
salt and pepper to taste

Line a baking dish with three layers of paper towels and spoon the ricotta over them.  Allow to sit for 20 minutes so that the towels absorb some of the moisture.  If the dough is too wet, it won't hold together.  In a food processor, combine the ricotta, eggs, parmesan, salt, and pepper.  Process until smooth.  Add the flour and pulse until just combined. The dough should be smooth and fairly wet.  Transfer this mixture to a freezer bag (or pastry bag) and cut a 1/2 inch hole off the corner.  (You can make this up to 1 day ahead.)

Bring a large pot of water to a simmer.  Pipe the dough into the pot, cutting off 1 inch pieces with a knife as you go and letting them drop into the water.  Try to do this in 3 batches.  Cook each batch until they double in size, about 3 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat.  Add the mushroom and cook, stirring occassionally, for 5 minutes.  Then add shallots and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.  Then add butter, reserved cooking liquid, peas, and gnocchi, and toss gently.  Serve immediately and enjoy thoroughly.

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