Ricotta gnocchi and courgette gratin

Two Greedy Italians is a BBC food show with Gennaro Contaldo and Antonio Carluccio that travel around Italy. They left more than 40 years ago and discover now what has changed in Italian culture and the way they eat. It is a great show, giving insight in Italian food culture in the past, and nowadays.

The programme inspired me to cook Italian myself. Italian food is all about cooking with good products and keeping it simple. And this dish is certainly simple! The recipe for the ricotta gnocchi comes from the show, I knew that you can make gnocchi from ricotta, but not that they are so much simple than potato gnocchi, and so delicious. Making the dough and forming the gnocchi does take some time, but it is really easy to make a double batch, cook it, and keep some for another diner. The ricotta keep very well (cooked) in the fridge, and it is really tasty to cover them with some bechamel sauce and gratin them for a nice crust on top.

The courgette gratin was my own creation. I like courgette a lot, I’ve even have some courgette plants in my small garden, but sometimes they get a bit boring. Elaborate and complicated dishes with courgette will not work, the delicate taste of courgette will just be overpowered, so it had to stay simple. So I came up with a variation on grilled courgette, which I like a lot: courgette gratin. Just slice the courgette thinly, arrange the slices neatly in an oven dish, sprinkle with salt, peper and some grated parmesan and cook in a preheated oven (180C) until the courgette is tender and the cheese has molten or browned.

Ricottagnocchi with courgette gratin.

Ricottagnocchi with courgette gratin.

Ricotta gnocchi (3-4 servings)
from BBC – Two Greedy Italians

200g 00 flour, plus extra for dusting
225g ricotta
3 egg yolks
30g parmesan, grated, plus extra for serving
pinch nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
knob of butter

Mix the flour, ricotta, egg yolks, parmesan, nutmeg and seasoning together in a large bowl to form a soft, moist dough.Tip the mixture out onto a floured work surface and knead for 3-5 minutes. Roll the dough into a long, thin sausage shape, then cut into dumplings about 2cm long.Cook the dumplings for 3-4 minutes in a large saucepan of salted boiling water (they will float when ready). Meanwhile, heat a frying pan with a knob of butter. Remove the dumplings from the pan with a slotted spoon and add them to the frying pan. Bake until slightly browned. Serve hot with some extra parmesan.

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