Ricotta gnocchi

Fast, different and very satisfying

Today I would like to talk with you about a recipe that I tried when I really didn’t know what to cook and my fridge was almost empty. My partner was coming home from work and I wanted to give him something new and good at the same time….what could I do with only some ricotta and Parmesan?! I always heard of gnocchi made with ricotta and so I tried them and the final result was so good that I’ve decided to share the recipe with all of you, hoping to help you in your desperate cooking moment.

Ingredients for 4 persons

  • 500 gr ricotta
  • 100 gr grated Parmesan
  • 200 gr flour
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • salt

Method

Put the ricotta in a bowl and start working it with a fork, add the Parmesan and the flour. Mix with the fork and add a pinch of salt and some grated nutmeg ( powder is also good). Start to put the mix together working with your hands and then transfer the dough on a wooden surface where you keep kneading it for other 10 minutes. After that make the gnocchi in the same way you would do the potato gnocchi (you can find the recipe under “cooking skills” section).

Cook the ricotta gnocchi in a big pan full of boiled and salted water, when they come to the surface they are ready. You can finish the plate with a nice tomato and basil sauce or a good homemade pesto.

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making gnocchi

Potato gnocchi

To make the potato gnocchi I always use the proportion one each: 100 gr potatoes and 100 gr flour and the dosage changes based on how many people you’re cooking for. Cook the potatoes in a pan with some water, the Desiree version is the best for this recipe, and when they are tender drain. Let them cool and mash on a wooden surface, add the flour and some salt. Work everything together  and add more flour if required.

After the dough is ready, divide it in parts and start rolling each with your hands until you have a long, thick ribbon. Cut it in pieces and using your thumb rolling each gnocchi  on a floured fork. This will give to your gnocchi that nice shape useful to retain the sauce.

Keep working in the same way until all the dough is done and don’t forget to sprinkle your gnocchi with some flour at the end.

 

If you want to dare with something different you can add colour to your gnocchi using spinach, butternut squash, tomato paste, saffron or beetroot.The secret is to add the vegetable or the spice in the dough at the very beginning of the kneading process. If you decide to use spinach or butternut squash, always remember to cook them and to let them cool until they are cold before adding to the dough. In the spinach case you have to be sure that all the water has been drained away, otherwise your gnocchi will be a complete disaster. I remember my granny using nettles in the place of the spinach and the colour was so green and bright, if you want to do the same ALWAYS remember to wear gloves every time you handle the nettles or, at least, until they are cooked.

Brussels sprouts and bacon soup

A very good way for your veggies leftover

Hello everybody, here I am with a different version of the Christmas classic trimmings, Brussels sprouts and bacon. It is a warm dish that can go very well during the long cold winter days. I know that they are typical for Christmas with a luxurious roasted turkey but, hey, who said that you can’t enjoyed them in a different time and in a different way?!

 

Ingredients for 2 people

  • 1 white onion finely chopped
  • 250 gr Brussels sprouts
  • 1 slice diced bacon
  • vegetable oil, salt and pepper
  • 2 diced potatoes
  • créme fraîche
  • grated Parmesan

 

Method

In a deep pan heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil and add the chopped onion. Let it cook until it is transparent but not burnt then add the Brussels sprouts chopped and the diced potatoes. Allow them to cook for about 10 minutes stirring continuosly. Add some boiled water (from the kettle would be prfect), enough to cover the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and cook it until the veggies are tender.

Blend everything with an hand-held blender and let it reduces on a medium heat. In the meantime fry the bacon in a small pan.

Pour the soup in the bowls and garnish them with a spoon of créme fraîche, a little olive oil, the grated Parmesan , some freshly ground pepper. Place the bacon right in the middle, serve with a warm baguette and some butter.

Aubergine heart raviolis

A romantic dish for your Valentine day

This is a recipe that I cooked some time ago for my partner. He was coming home for lunch after the work and I wanted to make him feel loved and cared. It can be an ideal recipe for S. Valentine, a small effort and you will gift your loved one with food straight from the heart….

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Ingredients for 2 people

1 aubergine
125 gr ricotta
grated Parmesan
2 eggs
200 gr flour
salt, black pepper grounded at the moment
tomato sauce
basil leaves
1 shallots
sunflower oil

Method

First of all make the filling by dicing the aubergine and pan-frying it until it is tender. Move it to a bowl and mash it with the ricotta and the Parmesan, taste and adjust with salt and pepper. Put the filling aside and start with the dough. On a wooden surface or in a bowl mix together the flour, the eggs and a pinch of salt. If you are using a bowl I strongly suggest to transfer the mix to a wooden surface to start knead it with your hands. Work with the dough until it is completely assembled and stretching. Many chefs would wrap the dough in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for, at least, half an hour, but I follow my mummy method and I start to roll it immediately.

When your dough is ready, divide it in small pieces and roll them with a pasta machine starting from the thicker gauge and little by little move to the thinner. Continue in this way until the sheet is nice and thin. Divide the filling in small little balls and cover with another thin pasta sheet. Press well with your finger around every small aubergine and ricotta ball to allow the air to exit. When you are sure that everything is alright you can start cutting the ravioli with an heart-shaped cutter. Put the raviolis aside and keep doing the same until all the pasta dough is finished. Don’t worry about the piece of pasta left from the cutting, you can knead them again in the dough.

Once all your raviolis are done start with the sauce. Thinly slice the shallot and cook it in a pan with some sunflower oil, after 5 minutes you can add the tomato sauce and the basil leaves. Taste and season with salt and pepper and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes. Cook the raviolis in a big pan with boiled, salted water and as soon as they come to the surface, they are ready. Add the raviolis to the tomato sauce pan and mix them carefully….you don’t want to break them!!

Serve the raviolis in a nice warm plate, finish with some raw basil leaves and grated Parmesan and enjoy them with your loved one and a nice glass of rosé wine.

Welcome

Welcome everybody to my new and first blog. My name is Debora and I’m Italian. I moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, 5 years ago and I’m proud to say that I took all my culinary roots with me. This blog is about what I learned from my mum and my grannies in the kitchen and what I’m still learning by myself. Cooking is a never ending lovestory, it’s made of passion and trust (trust in your ability to cook something decent no matter how bad you think you are). As in a love affair you learn everyday, so it is in the kitchen and, honestly, I’m not so confident to say that I know everything about it but I promise I’ll give you my best.

I come from an amazing town in Italy called Ravenna. It is part of the Emilia Romagna region and it is a secret treasure in terms of culture, history and food. Food is part of what we are and obviously is part of me, I can still remember making “cappelletti” every Sunday morning with my mum and listening to her lesson about the filling and the pasta dough. Every food in my mind is associated with a memory from my childhood and I think it is that connection that took me inside the fabulous word of cooking….the ability to create a memory through the love of food. 

With this blog I wish I’ll be able to share some of my  culinary experiences with all of you and I also hope to learn new things along the road.

Lots of love to everybody,
Debbie