Entrée for 6, main for 4

Acknowledgement…original recipe Australian chef, Andrew McConnell

Compared to making potato gnocchi, this recipe is very easy, but it is made over three days, however, our interest was that perhaps they could be made gluten free and in the next couple of weeks we will try making them with white polenta instead of semolina…stay tuned!

1kg fresh ricotta…see note[i]
20g finely grated lemon rind
½ nutmeg, freshly grated
20g Maldon sea salt

approximately 1200g – 1500g fine semolina

you will need
2 240mm x 340mm rectangular plastic boxes with airtight lids that will stack on each other in the fridge

40g cooking sea salt
100g EVO

to make the gnocchi
Day One
Tip the ricotta from the basket into a food processor or Thermomix, add the lemon rind, nutmeg and Maldon and work it until it is smooth and creamy. Transfer the mix to a piping bag fitted with a 20mm round nozzle.

Put a 20mm layer of semolina in the bottom of each box and pipe logs of the gnocchi mix on top about 15mm apart. When you have piped all the mix bury the logs by about 20mm. Cover and refrigerate.

Day Two
Carefully remove the logs from the semolina and cut them into 20mm gnocchi. Roll them through semolina and bury them in the boxes again, cover and refrigerate.

Day Three
Set a large pot of hot water on high heat and add the 40g of cooking sea salt and bring it to the boil. Tip the EVO into a lipped tray and spread it around.

Turn the heat down to a low simmer…working a few at a time, drop the gnocchi into the clean dry ricotta basket and shake off the excess semolina and drop them into the pot. Stir very gently and when they rise to the top, using a slotted spoon, and gently drop them into the oiled tray.

Do not attempt to handle them until they have cooled they are very fragile….we had a few casualties the first time we made this recipe…water boiling too hard, too many in the pot and as a consequence some fell to bits.

When the gnocchi have cooled [and firmed] roll them through the oil and gently slide them into the cleaned boxes you used when making the gnocchi. Single layer is best and contact cover with Freezer-go-Between.

Above images of the preparation process.

to serve….option one

this is quick and needs to be served immediately..10 mins max!

sage leaves
200g unsalted butter
black pepper, freshly and coarsely ground
Reggiano parmesan

Wearing food service gloves make sure the gnocchi are separated. Put half of the butter into a large well-seasoned steel or non-stick ceramic pan and place it on high heat. Quickly fry the sage leaves and remove them from the pan to paper towel. Slide the gnocchi into the pan and using a silicon spatula gently turn them until they are lightly coloured on some sides and warmed through. Divide them between warmed serving plates…immediately add the remaining butter to the pan and when it foams and browns divide between the plates. Season with Maldon and freshly ground pepper, grate parmesan over the top [optional], scatter the crisp sage and serve immediately.

To serve….option two
1L fresh chunky home style tomato sauce
handful basil leaves
50g fresh breadcrumbs that have fried until crunchy in your best EVO
150g grated Mozzarella
30g Reggiano parmesan, finely grated

pre heat oven to 180°C
Pour about ¼ of the sauce into a large shallow oven proof dish. Scatter the gnocchi over the sauce, tear the basil leaves over the gnocchi and then spoon the remaining sauce over them. Distribute the breadcrumbs across the top, then the mozzarella and final the parmesan….to this point can be done in advance.

cook for 40-45 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the top browned and crunchy. Serve with a simple green salad.

[i] The cheese for this recipe needs to be fresh traditional ricotta which is rather moister and, also has a limited shelf life, usually of about a week. In South Australia, the local La Casa del Formaggio fresh traditional ricotta which can be found at many good continental delicatessens including Omega Foods. The fresher the better.