Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ricotta Gnocchi with Asparagus Pesto


Here we are at April's Improv Cooking Challenge hosted by Lesa of Edesia's Notebook. The idea: we are assigned two ingredients and are challenged to create a recipe with those two things. April's assigned ingredients: Asparagus and Eggs.

I thought about different way to incorporate these two and mainly came up with breakfast foods. I, first, planned to make an asparagus eggs benedict. Then I started to get creative; I considered a savory cheesecake with roasted asparagus. Finally, I ended up having my Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf help me make Ricotta Gnocchi with Asparagus Pesto.

Che squisito!

Ingredients

  • 2 C whole-milk ricotta (1 pound)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 C grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided into 1 C + 1/2 C portions
  • 1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1-1/4  to 1-1/2 C flour
  • 4 C asparagus, cut into 1-1/2" lengths
  • zest from 1 organic lemon
  • juice from 1 organic lemon 
  • olive oil
  • canola oil for pan-frying
  • fresh dill for garnish
  • freshly ground salt for garnish
  • freshly ground pepper for garnish

Procedure

Asparagus Pesto
Blanch the asparagus until it turns a vibrant green, approximately 1 minute. Set 1 C aside for serving. You will likely have to do this in two batches; I did. Drain and place 1-1/2 C of the asparagus and 1/4 C cheese in the blender. Add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil - just enough to achieve the texture you want. If you want it more thick, use less oil. Blend. Set aside. Repeat with the second half.


Ricotta Gnocchi
Stir together ricotta, eggs, 1 C cheese, 1/2 C asparagus pesto, and nutmeg. Add flour, stirring to form a soft, wet dough.


On a floured piece of parchment paper, roll the dough into a cylinder. You may have to do this in batches.  Shape the dough into 1" thick ropes.


Cut rope into 1" lengths with a lightly floured butter-knife.


Move gnocchi to a lightly-floured, parchment-lined baking sheet.


To cook...bring water to a boil in a large pot with 1 t of salt and a splash of olive oil. Add a few gnocchi to the pot at a time. They are cooked when they float to the surface. They should take approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Lift gnocchi out of the water with a slotted spoon. Let drain in a colander.

Heat canola oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Quickly brown the gnocchi in the oil. When lightly browned, remove them to a paper towl.

To serve...plate some of the blanched asparagus. Lay some browned gnocchi on top of the asparagus. Place a dollop of asparagus pesto on top of the gnocchi. Garnish with fresh dill, salt, and pepper.


8 comments:

  1. I love that you made pesto! How delicious!

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  2. Ridiculous! You have the asparagus in your pasta & in your pesto! My mouth is watering... As soon as I can find a decent gf flour mix for gnocchi, imma try your recipe! YUM!

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  3. Asparagus pesto? You're a genius! I just love this, Camilla. So creative. Thank you so much for joining us this month!

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  4. You had me at gnocchi!! Great combination. (And your Kitchen Elf help is adorable!)

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  5. All Greeek food is great! But I love Spanakopita Rolls and Moussaka the most.
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  6. I’ve made pasta for many years, but have never tried gnocchi. And I didn’t even know you could make gnocchi with ricotta – so interesting. I’d love to try this

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