6.09.2018

It's a Sign

Sometimes I randomly buy something at the farmers market simply because it looks so good that I can't resist it. It gets more random when I get home to find a recipe from one of my favorite bloggers calling for that specific ingredient. For me, it’s a sign.

It’s a sign that I need to make the recipe that very day, especially if I have all the other ingredients on hand.

That happened several weeks ago when I was visiting Fiore di Capra at the market. They had their beautiful goat ricotta, of outstanding quality. I bought it. I had to. Really, I had no choice.

I came home, put away the groceries and, before I could sit down, my email pinged. There was a post from Stefano of Italian Home Cooking with his recipe for ’Ndunderi di Minori - a type of ricotta gnocchi from the Amalfi Coast. It was a sign. (For some wonderful, authentic Italian recipes, you should definitely visit Stefano's blog!)

I know of many ricotta gnocchi and dumplings, but this one was new to me. Stefano says, “they shine with almost any condiment: tomato sauce, light walnut pesto, olive oil & pecorino & black pepper, sautéed mushrooms.”

I opted for the tomato sauce as it seemed lighter, and I also had just bought two beautiful pink beefsteak tomatoes at the famers market.

These gnocchi are quite simple and even quick enough to pull together after work. It’s this kind of food that we just love.

The recipe serves 2-3 as a main course but can serve 4-6 as a primo, perhaps followed by something simple from the grill.

~ David

’Ndunderi di Minori
From the recipe by Stefano Arturi, Italian Home Cooking

olive oil
1 shallot, minced

1 small peperoncino, minced (or a pinch of red pepper flakes)
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
a splash of white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh basil leaves
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

8.75 ounces/250 grams ricotta, well drained and patted dry with paper towels (see notes)
2 egg yolks, beaten
3.5 ounces/100 grams grated pecorino cheese (see notes)
a grating or two of nutmeg
2.75 ounces/80 grams “00” flour


Make the sauce first, and let it sit while you make the gnocchi. Add some olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until clear, but not brown. Add the peperoncino and cook another 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and their juices and cook until the liquid begins to reduce. Add a splash of wine. Cook until the sauce has dried a bit and thickened slightly. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Mix the first four ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the flour and incorporate it lightly - do not over mix.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for a minute or so: this develops the gluten a little and gives the pasta some bite.

Divide the dough into four pieces. Roll each piece into a 5/8-inch thick rope and cut it into 1-inch long pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, and then roll it down the times of a dinner fork, making grooves on the top, with the indentation of your thumb on the bottom. This dough is a bit more coarse than for potato gnocchi, so a gnocchi board doesn’t work as well. For these, a fork is best.

Lower the gnocchi into simmering water, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat so that it is boiling gently; if it boils too energetically, it might break up the gnocchi. Once the gnocchi float to the surface, cook them a minute longer before removing them with a slotted spoon or a spider. Add them to the sauce, and gently toss to coat.

Divide among two or three pasta bowls, and serve right away with shredded basil and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Serves 2-3.

Notes:
- I used fresh goat ricotta, but these can be made with supermarket ricotta. Use full-fat ricotta, not the part-skim.
- The Pecorino cheese cited in this recipe is not Pecorino Romano. It is a semi-soft cheese that is hard to find in the U.S. I used Montasio cheese from Trader Joe’s and it worked great. Stefano suggested Provolone but, in my opinion, American Provolone is too strong for the delicacy of this dish.


31 comments:

  1. Thank for the recipe and the introduction to Stefano!

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    1. Stefano’s recipes are wonderful - I was lucky to meet him last fall in Tuscany!

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  2. Lovely recipe, David. What makes this even more appealing is your use of goat ricotta - so nice with the tomatoes and basil. Although, I do like the sound of walnut pesto!

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    1. John - we are enjoying trying different sauces with these gnocchi, and we just saw a video that sauced them in a lemon-butter-cream sauce. Yes, please!

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  3. These look wonderful! I've been meaning to make these, too, but haven't gotten around to it. Now you beat me to it! ;-) Even more reason to get cracking...

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    1. Now that is what I call “healthy competition,” Frank! You will love them.

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  4. Your post must be a sign for me too- I just bought some ricotta yesterday to make with a new dish for my blog (it's a secret)! Yum, I can just smell that fresh basil now! Say, what are those colored 'balls' in that basket?

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    1. I think your secret is out, Fran! The little balls are tiny chile peppers - they are native to Arizona and are called chiltepins. It is said they that are the ancestors of all chiles we know today, except the Tabasco pepper!

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  5. Darn, I didn’t get any goat ricotta from the farmer’s market today. Maybe next week because your gnocchis look great. No signs for me because I am too tired from all my traveling.

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    1. You must be exhausted, Gerlinde! But what fun you had!

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  6. Filed this when published on Stefano's great blog - partly because of the interesting name methinks, child that I am ! Seeing it here as well as on your Instagram post, I do take it as a 'sign' to hurry up and try!

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    1. Heed the signs, Eha! Funny - last night we watched a travel video on Amalfi and they made ‘Ndunderi using lemon in the gnocchi and the sauce! Looked amazing.

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  7. Beautiful version; I usually make sweet ones for one of those lazy afternoons but this is something I must try ! Thank you so much !

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    1. ... sweet ricotta gnocchi... that sounds interesting... I know of sweet ricotta fritters (and Hazan has a recipe too actually), but I have never made sweet ricotta gnocchi.. any chance of sharing the recipe? thanks, stefano

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    2. I am with Stefano - the sweet ricotta gnocchi sound wonderful! Do you have a recipe for those?

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  8. These look so delicious, I have never made ricotta gnocchi before and I really should!

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    1. They are right down your alley, Caroline!

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  9. Incredible. They look too hard to make! Not sure I have the patience. It's such a pain to never have the exact ingredients for international cuisines!

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    1. They aren’t hard at all, Mimi! My students are even making them! You could make them using good quality ingredients from your supermarket!

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  10. yr gnocchi skills better than mine for sure - they are delicious, I agree- Thanks for sharing. stefano (www.italianhomecooking.co.uk)

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    1. You are too kind, Stefano! We have now made them at least 5 times! My technique improves with every batch!

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  11. With eating local missing pasta has been one of my bigger challenges. I've been meaning to make it mself but, well, you know how "meaning to" can go. But gnocchi might be just enough less of a science project to get me going! Have seen greenhouse tomatoes and basil in the farmer's market now so...

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    1. These are actually easier than pasta - and potato gnocchi, for sure! Give them a try, Inger!

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  12. What a great sign! This is a lovely light summery dish, sounds wonderful.

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    1. I was surprised, Emma, at how light they were considering they are close to 100% cheese!

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  13. David, your gnocchi is gorgeous! Very professional and, I know, delizioso!

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  14. These gnocchi and the tomato sauce look amazing! I've only made potato gnocchi before, and they didn't look nearly as elegant as yours, David! I will have to try these soon. I'll check out Stefano's blog too :)

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    1. These are much easier than potato gnocchi - much more forgiving! I’m making them for dinner again tonight!

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