I’ve had my fingers in a lot of bowls this week. Experimenting, creating and cleaning. Experimenting, eating, cleaning. Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Eating, eating, eating.
I’ve been unduly fortunate to have a week to myself, to do with what I please. And what I please usually involves making a mess. Especially in the case of these gnocchi. I don’t know about your gnocchi process, but mine always creates a lot of mess. Mess that is, without any question, worth it once your teeth descend into the pillowy little bundles of savory joy. These are worth it. Worth a mess, worth the time, worth finding the perfect hiding space so your boyfriend can’t find them. That last one is important if you’re a jerk like me. But in that case, a jerk with lots of gnocchi, you’ll be. And ask yourself, is that really so bad?
Broccoli-Lemon Gnocchi with Chili Brown Butter
adapted from Local Kitchen Blog
makes 40-50 gnocchi
1 1/2 cups good-quality Ricotta (strain if it’s got excess moisture)
1 tsp sea salt
fresh ground pepper
zest from 1/2 lemon
1 heaping cup finely diced broccoli florets
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 - 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
whole broccoli florets
Parmesan, for garnish
lemon wedges, for garnish
In a bowl, vigorously whisk together the ricotta, egg, salt and pepper until shiny and smooth. Add in the nutmeg, lemon zest, broccoli florets and Parmesan and whisk to combine. Add in half the flour and fold together. Add the rest, slowly, while mixing and folding, until a sticky dough forms. Dump onto a well-floured surface and knead gently until dough is uniform. It should still be a bit sticky. Divide dough into 4 portions and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Remove 1 portion at a time and use your finger tips to roll the dough portion into a finger-width rope. Use a light touch and encourage the dough to lengthen by spreading your fingers as you’re rolling it out. Use a very gentle touch as you don’t want to squish the dough, you want pillowy gnocchi. Once finger-width, cut the rope into 1” sections. Place on a parchment-lined, flour-dusted baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Repeat with remaining sections. Shape by quickly pressing against a gnocchi board or the back of a fork. Good gnocchi groves means more potential to catch sauce - something worth noting!
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add about 8-10 (one layer) gnocchi at a time. They will sink to the bottom. When they rise to the top, they are ready. Place on a paper towel lined baking sheet and cover with damp towel. Repeat until all gnocchi are cooked.
Add butter, pinch salt and chili flakes to a large skillet over med-high heat. Melt, swirling the pan until foam subsides and there are golden flecks in the butter (5-6 minutes). Add in the broccoli florets and 1/4-1/2 of the gnocchi and cook, tossing occasionally, until gnocchi are golden brown in spots and broccoli is cooked but still bright green. Serve with extra Parmesan and lemon wedges.