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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

a taste of napa: ricotta gnocchi

Last Tuesday, I shared one of my favorite appetizers from one of our favorite Napa restaurants. I mentioned that I was recreating two of our favorite meals from our week in wine country, and today I am sharing a main dish I had while dining at Michael Chiarello's Bottega Ristorante

It's no secret that I love the Food Network. Not only do I love seeing all the food and recipes, but it definitely has a calming effect after a long day, don't you think?! Anyways, four years ago when we traveled to Napa for our honeymoon, I knew that we had to try Michael Chiarello's restaurant. He was always one of my favorite Food Network stars growing up and Italian food is be absolute favorite. Having been in Napa for our third time a couple weeks ago, we knew we had to continue the tradition and return to Bottega. It may be boring, but I have ordered the same meal each time! I should branch out and try something new, but the ricotta gnocchi is so good and so unique, I never want to miss a chance to enjoy it! Since we were missing Napa and all the delicious food last weekend, I made the Burrata as an appetizer and the ricotta gnocchi for dinner. Needless to say that was a lot of food {and cheese!} and we were SO full by the end of the day. It was totally worth it though ;) 

I've made gnocchi before {see here} but I have always used potatoes as the main ingredient. I was definitely intrigued by the concept of having ricotta cheese as the "meat" of the pasta. Potato gnocchi can be especially heavy, but I've noticed with the ricotta, it's much lighter, meaning you can eat a lot more! 

I found this recipe from Geoffrey Zakarian that is pretty much a carbon copy of the meal I enjoyed at Bottega. Although Zakarian lists the recipe as "easy", it should be noted that making fresh pasta is never easy {at least in my opinion!} and the forming of the dough is time consuming and does require patience {which I have none of!}. I was getting super frustrated as I was rolling the dough into a ball and forming the gnocchi. I was tempted to add more flour to help with the stickiness, because it is SUPER sticky. But, I'm so glad I followed the recipe exactly because if I would have added more flour, I think it would have made the gnocchi too heavy, defeating the purpose of a ricotta base. And, all in all, the frustration and patience was worth it because this pasta was so delicious! I'm so happy that I found an almost identical match for Bottega's ricotta gnocchi and I cannot wait to experiment with different sauces! 

ricotta-gnocchi

Ricotta Gnocchi with Prosciutto Tomato Sauce 

2 cups ricotta cheese {I used part-skim}
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, additional for serving if desired
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Semolina flour, for dusting
6 ounces prosciutto, diced
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan, olive oil, eggs and a pinch of salt with a whisk in a large mixing bowl. Add the all-purpose flour in three parts, stirring with a rubber spatula, and making sure to fully combine the flour each time. Bring the dough together into a ball and cut off one-quarter of it. Dust your work surface with all purpose flour and roll the cut-off piece of dough into a long rope, about 5/8 inch in diameter. Cut the rope into bite-sized pieces. Repeat with the rest of the dough, one quarter at a time. Dust the semolina flour on parchment paper and place the gnocchi on the parchment paper to prevent sticking. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi in the boiling water for about 2 minutes, just until the gnocchi begins to float to the top of the water. Drain and serve gnocchi with the prosciutto tomato sauce {see below}. 

Prosciutto Tomato Sauce

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove the prosciutto from the skillet and transfer to clean plate. Leaving the fat in the pan, add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the prosciutto back to the sauce and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Serve with the ricotta gnocchi and top with basil and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. 

ricotta-gnocchi-prosciutto-sauce

Thanks so much for stopping by and have a great Tuesday!

7 comments:

  1. Hello, YUM. And subbing ricotta for the potatoes is genius! :)

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

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  2. Italian is my favorite too! Napa is on our travel list but until I can get there, I can at least have a taste of it in my kitchen! :-) Thanks for the yummy recipe!! xo

    livingoncloudandreanine.blogspot.com

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  3. Making me drool...I've been craving Italian so badly!




    http://the-party-dress.com

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  4. Oh my goodness, now I'm super hungry; this looks so good!

    May x • THE MAYDENbloglovin'

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  5. I wish I was having this for dinner tonight!! I like the substitution of ricotta - I don't normally like gnocchi but this way I do! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  6. Omg this looks divine! I love anything with ricotta and I love gnocchi so I really need to try this! Yum!!!

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeat Soles
    

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  7. I have to say I love potatoes and any meal that includes potatoes. These gnocchi sound delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

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