Venetian Dishes
gnocchi, gnocchi al pomodoro, gnocchi di patate, venerdì gnocolaro, giovedì gnocchi, gnocchi al sugo, gnocchi al ragù, gnocchi casalinghi, fare gli gnocchi, gnocchi di ricotta

Potato and Ricotta cheese Gnocchi, with tomato sauce

  • Portions: 6
  • Time: 1 hr.
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Ingredients
  • Potatoes, about 500 g
  • Ricotta, 200 g
  • Flour, about 100 g
  • 1 egg
  • Nutmeg

  • Extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp
  • Half chopped blond onion
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Tomato sauce, 300 g
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Thursday, gnocchi (dumplings)!

"Thursday gnocchi, Friday fish, Sabato trippa" is a proverb that in ancient Roman times indicated Thursday as a day dedicated to a rich and substantial dish like gnocchi, since it preceded Friday when it was important to respect the custom to eat no meat. In fact, the gnocchi remained in our imagination as a festive dish, especially for those who had the fortune from an early age to see their mother or grandmother intent on preparing and maybe even for those who tried to push their hands into that soft and malleable dough.
In Verona, gnocchi are eaten with butter and sage or with the pastissada de caval (a typical horse stew) during the "Venardì Gnocolàr", the day of the Carnival parade: in fact, it is more common there to eat them on Friday, but I believe there is no right or wrong day to eat them, because they are always appreciated by everyone.

As a child I often prepared them with my grandmother, who ever made no mistake: they were always perfectly formed, with that hole in the middle ready to accept the sauce, which was usually simple, in my family, tomato sauce.
Ragù was also prepared, but it was very atypical: only a bit of meat, lots of tomato conserve, no olive oil but seeds oil, because my grandmother liked it that way.
Actually in Vicenza the typical recipe for seasoning gnocchi is with cinnamon and melted butter, and if you want you can also add grated parmesan and, to increase the sensation of sweet and sour, raisins. Alternatively, gnocchi with fioreta, a cheese that we can define as ricotta rich in whey, still very liquid.
I made the habit of putting the ricotta in the dough, because I like them more than the norml version and I find them even more melting in your mouth and fluffy: have you ever tasted them?

Boil the potatoes is a work of patience: no microwave, no oven, I boiled potatoes. From the night of the time the potatoes for the dumplings are boiled in boiling water and the dumpling is set in flour based on the absorption of water that has occurred: nothing happens, it is wrong sometimes, then you learn. Sometimes it happens that the dumpling melts in boiling water, because you thought the dough was hard enough and instead he makes jokes of you: no worries, try again, you'll see that the next time you succeed.
The water in which you will boil them must not be too bubbling, violent: a delicate boiling will be enough.
Drain them with a slotted spoon, certainly not with the colander, otherwise you'll find yourself with a sticky pile.

And now come on, how about kneading some?
Wash the potatoes well, scraping off any soil attached to the peel, then place them in a large pot of water, bring to a boil until, pricking them, they are tender and do not resist.
Once cooked, let it cool a bit then peel it and mash it with a potato masher, collecting the pulp in a bowl.
Add the egg, ricotta, a grate of nutmeg and gradually the flour: you could use it less, or maybe a little more ... check that the dough is well blended, not sticky, malleable. Be careful because working the still warm pulp, it might seem necessary more flour: wait for it to cool a little bit.
Shape the rolls with the dough by rolling them on a floured surface, cut them into chunks of about 1 cm and a half and then with a fork lightly imprint the signs of the tines.

In a saucepan, place the onion, oil and garlic and heat it by frying gently: when the onion is golden, remove the garlic and add the tomato, a few basil leaves and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let it thicken a little bit over medium-low heat.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the gnocchi, drain them as soon as they come to the surface and pour the tomato sauce over them.
Serve hot, if you like it with grated Parmesan.