I made gnocchi!

Our wine club shipment from our very favorite winery, Seghesio, arrived last week.  With it arrived a few recipes from Chef Peter Janiak.  I'm a Chef Janiak fan ever since Dave and I were lucky enough to have a private dinner (and wine tasting) prepared by Chef Janiak last November.

I've made a few of his recipes and they are all outstanding.  The mushroom sauce, oh my!  And I don't like mushrooms!

We are extremely excited because we are going back out to Healdsburg in just a couple of months for dinner right in the vineyard!  We will be eating in the Rattlesnake Hill vineyard, home to the grapes used to make my very favorite wine of all time, Seghesio Home Ranch Zinfandel!

But you want to hear about the gnocchi, right?  Gnocchi is one of those things I've always wanted to try making but was a little too scared that it would be a lot of hard work and then I'd ruin it.  It is kind of like how I felt about sourdough.  We'll, I've conquered sourdough so why not make some gnocchi.

The recipe for the gnocchi and Wild Mushroom and Pea Ragut are below.

The recipe called for Sheep's Milk Ricotta.  Well, I couldn't find that (ok I didn't look too hard) at my local Byerly's so I just bought regular.  When I got home I noticed it was part skim, not whole milk but I wasn't going back!


The ricotta needs to drain in a colander over night.



Once drained, eggs, Parmesan cheese, salt and flour are added and then you add as much more flour as is needed to make a soft, slightly wet dough.  Did I do it right?  I didn't know!



After a little trip to the refrigerator the dough is ready to be rolled out and cut.  I thought it was harder to roll out than pasta or cookie or bread dough.  Not that the dough was tough, it was very soft, but it didn't seem to want to roll into a log!  I finally got it there though.


Then you just cut it into gnocchi-sized pieces.  I didn't put the pretty lines in them.  I just cut them.  I  really don't think it changed the flavor.


This makes a lot of gnocchi!  Almost three pound of it!  So into the freezer it went until I had an evening with time to make the Wild Mushroom and English Pea Ragout recipe that came with our wine.


Tonight was that night!  This is so easy!  I boiled the gnocchi.  Chef Janiak's instructions were the same as my grandmother taught me when making ravioli.  Boil it until it floats then give it a few more minutes!

While that was boiling, I rendered a little pancetta.  Isn't this pretty?




The pancetta is then set aside.  I find my Bad Ass "Egg" Spoon works well for removing the pancetta from the pan!  Unlike Michael Symon, you don't keep the fat in the pan after rendering for this recipe. 


To the pan a little butter is added and then the gnocchi just until it's browned.  Then some shallots and mushrooms are added.  I used shiitake because I know Dave likes those.  If I haven't mentioned it (today) I don't like mushrooms but I will cook with them.  I like the flavor, it's the texture I can't stand.



The pan is deglazed with white wine.  There aren't too many better smells than when wine goes in a dish on the stove!  To the pan, chicken stock is added, reduced, then add peas, a little butter and parsley and it's done!



Chef Janiak says to serve it in warm bowls, well I used warm plates.  I love my plate warmer!  Best gift ever!
  
So how was it?  I made gnocchi!  Cross that off the list (well I still have to make potato gnocchi).  And it wasn't tough, it melted in my mouth.  It had a nice mellow flavor, I can't wait to try it with sheep's milk ricotta for a little more tang.  The dish was amazing.  You could taste the white wine and who doesn't like cooked pork belly?  I was starving tonight so I added a side of steamed broccoli.  Thank you Chef Janiak!  See you on August 10th!


The recipe:

Sheepsmilk Ricotta Gnocchi

2 pounds sheepsmilk ricotta
2 each eggs
1 cup parmesan finely grated
1 Tblsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
2-2.5 cups all-purpose flour

Drain Ricotta in colander under refrigeration for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight. Add Ricotta to large mixing bowl. Add eggs, parmesan, salt and 2 cups of flour. Mix until dough just comes together. Put on bench and knead for a minute (using additional ½ cup of flour as needed); dough should be soft and slightly wet. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 45 minutes to rest. It is important not to overwork the dough or gnocchi will be tough.
Divide dough into four pieces and roll out into ropes on a well floured surface. Cut gnocchi with a lightly floured knife to ¾ inch pieces. Place gnocchi on floured sheet pan and refrigerate until ready to cook. This may be more gnocchi than you need as well and this would be the time to freeze the product. Place on sheet pans in freezer until frozen and then you may transfer to Tupperware and store in freezer. (This step is important so the gnocchi do not freeze in one giant lump but rather individual pieces that can later be dropped into boiling water). They will be good frozen for up to one month.
To cook gnocchi drop into salted boiling water and wait for gnocchi to rise to surface then allow them to simmer for 3-4 minutes. Then remove them with a slotted spoon or spider and place them in ice water to cool and stop cooking process. When they are cool remove from water and dry well on kitchen towel.

Wild Mushroom and English Pea Ragout

3 cups ricotta gnocchi
4 ounces pancetta
1 each shallot finely diced
2.5 cups wild mushrooms (hedgehogs are pictured)
1.25 cups english peas (blanched and shocked)
2 teasp chopped fresh thyme
2 Tblsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup dry white wine
1.5 cups chicken stock
4 Tblsp unsalted butter
S&P to taste

Dice pancetta and render. Reserve crispy pancetta and discard fat.

Over medium high heat melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large sauté pan.

When hot add the gnocchi and once it begins to brown add the diced shallot and hedgehog mushrooms.

When mushrooms are cooked deglaze with white wine. Reduce till the pan is almost dry.
 
Add chicken stock and thyme and reduce by 2/3.

Add peas and when peas are hot whisk in remaining three Tablespoons of butter and chopped parsley.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve in warm bowls.

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