Ricotta Gnocchi with Garlic Oil and Oregano; Escarole with Pine Nuts

by Jennifer

Do NOT be fazed by making Ricotta Gnocchi during the week, IF you’ve made the gnocchi and frozen them ahead of time, which I did.  If you have an hour on a weekend, you can make and freeze gnocchi for during the week.  Serve them with your favorite sauce, or with the garlic oil and oregano.  My son declared, “Mom, this is really delicious”…hopefully you will agree.

Ricotta Gnocchi – adapted from A Fresh Taste of Italy by Michele Scicolone

For some unexplained reason my children do not like lasagne, but they do like gnocchi.  Remember that homemade ricotta I made a few weeks ago?  This is one of my favorite ways to use whatever’s remaining, and it’s great to do ahead.  It takes about an hour (less if you have a helper and can make an assembly line), and you can freeze them for up to a month.   You could serve this with Quick Tomato Sauce, or as I did tonight, with extra-virgin olive oil, garlic and chopped fresh oregano (don’t forget, either way, more freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on top).

This serves 4 adults or, in our case, 2 adults and 3 kids.

  •  1 lb. fresh (homemade!) ricotta
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • about 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
  • freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

To make the gnocchi:  Combine the ricotta and cheese in a large bowl.  Add the flour and mix well;  the mixture with be crumbly.

Using a fork, stir in the 2 eggs.  Begin to bring the dough together into a ball and knead, first in the bowl, then on a lightly floured surface,

kneading until you have a smooth ball, about 5 minutes.  Divide the dough into 8 equal portions.

Working with 1 portion at a time, roll out a rope about 1/2” thick;  cut the rope into about 3/4” pieces.

Dip a fork in flour and use your thumb to roll each piece over the back side of the tines so that one side of each gnocchi has the imprint of the tines, and the other side is concave from your thumb.

Place the gnocchi on a dishcloth-lined baking sheet that’s been dusted with flour, making sure the gnocchi don’t touch.  You can cook them when you’re finished making them, or you can freeze them;  once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe plastic bag.

To cook them (if frozen, do not defrost), bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Simmer the gnocchi in 2 – 3 batches, dropping in a few at a time so they don’t stick, and stirring gently when they’re in.  When they rise to the surface, let them cook for another minute and then transfer them, using a slotted spoon, to a warmed serving dish.

Combine the oil and garlic cloves in a microwave-safe container;  heat in the microwave on HIGH for 1 minute, and set aside.

When the gnocchi are cooked, remove the garlic cloves and toss the oil and oregano with the gnocchi.  Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Escarole with Pine Nuts – adapted from Gourmet magazine

The original recipe said it served 4 – 6, but honestly, it was so delicious and cooked down so much, it really would serve 3 hungry people.  Next time I’m doubling it.

  •  1 1/2 – 2 lbs. escarole, outer leaves removed, roughly chopped, rinsed well
  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 TBS pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil;

boil the escarole for 10 minutes, drain.

Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.  Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring, until they turn light golden, about 1 minute.

Add the garlic and red pepper;  cook, stirring, until the garlic and pine nuts are golden, about 2 minutes.

Add the escarole and toss well to coat and heat through;  when any remaining water from the escarole has evaporated, season with salt and pepper and serve.


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