Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ricotta Gnocchi - Gluten Free

Gluten Free Ricotta Gnocchi 

Gluten free ricotta gnocchi are delicious light pillows of heaven that are easy to make if you’re already familiar with the process.  Gnocchi, if they're made right are light little dumplings that shouldn't weigh you down.  But on the flip-side, if they’re made wrong they’ll sit in your stomach like a lead brick.  I typically make potato gnocchi because that’s what I grew up on.  But about a decade ago I discovered ricotta gnocchi.  I think they’re even more special so I usually make them for special occasions.   

The trick to really good ricotta gnocchi is to start with a drier ricotta.  In your ricotta shopping experiences, I’m sure you've noticed that some varieties are pretty tight while other ricotta varieties have a more soupy consistency.  You’ll want to avoid those as a drier ricotta will enable you to use far less flour in the dough.  Too much flour results in heavy gummy gnocchi. 

While writing this blog post, I realized that penning a gnocchi recipe is far more difficult than most of my recipes because a lot of it is by feel.  Many factors change from batch to batch.  These include but are not limited to; the humidity in the air, the size of your eggs, moisture level in the ricotta etc. When making the dough, it’s always a balancing act between adding enough flour to hold the gnocchi together but not overdoing it which results in those dense lead-like gnocchi I mentioned earlier.    

Don’t be intimidated as you tackle this project.  If they don’t come out perfect the first time try again.  Once you get the feel of it, you’ll have acquired a lifelong skill.  You’ll be able to do it all with no recipe required.

Ricotta Gnocchi – Gluten Free
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 2 min

  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grated pecorino romano or parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 egg & 1 yolk  
  • black pepper to taste (optional)
  • 1 ½ - 2 ½  cups corn flour
  • 1 ½ tsp xanthan gum

Video Tutorial

  1. To prep the flour, stir 2 ½ cups of corn flour together with 1 ½ tsp of xanthan gum.  This flour blend should be enough to use both in the recipe and as bench flour.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta (see note), pecorino, egg, yolk, and black pepper (optional) until you have a homogeneous mixture.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the ricotta starting with ¾ cup and continuing to add in ¼ cup measures until you have a dough that’s not too sticky and has a consistency of cold mashed potatoes. I used about 1 ¼ cups but depending on the factors listed in the blog post you might need up to 2 cups.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it a couple of times to bring it all together into a log or disc then divide the dough into 4-6 pieces.
  5. Roll each piece into a rope around ¾ of an inch in diameter.  If the ropes get too long or you see a weak spot break the rope but try to maintain the same diameter throughout.
  6. Cut the ropes into pieces less than an inch long.   And you can cut several ropes together to save time if you want.
  7. To roll the gnocchi, I like to dip one cut end into the bench flour so that it doesn't stick, then place the floured end onto a gnocchi board or fork, depress the center with your thumb, then gently roll it off the board.  When depressing the gnocchi it’s important not to press too hard.  You don’t want the centers being pressed beneath 1/2 inch thickness or they will fall apart.  (see my video tutorial above) 
  8. As you finish rolling the gnocchi, place them onto a floured baking sheet.
  9. Cook in small batches in a pot of boiling salted water.  They’re done about 30 seconds after they float.  I like to fish them out with a spider. Serve with sauce and cheese or see the video tutorial for my pancetta and peas recipe.

  1. If you are having trouble locating a gnocchi board, you can find them at Amazon for about 5.00 HERE but a fork works well too.
  2. For the ricotta, I've found that a drier variety enables you to use less flour with the end result being lighter less dense gnocchi.  I start with a dry variety then place it into a bowl on top of some folded paper towels for 5-10 minutes to dry it out even more.  
  3. Gnocchi can be made in advance and frozen.  To freeze them I put them onto wax paper lined baking sheets and after 3 -4 hours when the gnocchi have frozen solid, transfer into a Ziploc bag. 

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