Wednesday, 6 May 2009


Gnocchi... a total disaster when i first made them. I always had this misconception that Gnocchi are made using potatoes, But well The Daring Bakers cleared my misconception :) like always made me learn that they are made with different ingredients.

SO for the first ever Daring Cooks Challenge they choose 'Zuni Ricotta Gnocchi' from Zuni Cafe Cookbook, But i had to alternate the recipe to my own being a vegetarian.

The word gnocchi means "lump", and comes from nocchio, a knot in the wood. It’s been a traditional Italian pasta type of probably Middle Eastern origin since Roman times. Gnocchi are widely available dried, frozen, or fresh in vacuum sealed packages. Ive tried those too but somehow they ended up in the thrash can. :( So i was pretty hesitant to try this challenge. But well had to that's what challenges are for :)
Lets get started. Firstly u need Ricotta cheese, which i made at home as Ive done it a lot of times before. It is exactly like 'Paneer' Cottage cheese widely used in India.

Ricotta Cheese.
Milk - half gallon
1/2 cup lime juice/Vinegar
Cheese Cloth.
Boil the milk in a thick-bottomed vessel on medium heat, stirring occasionally Rinse the vessel with cold water before you put it on heat, it avoids the milk from sticking to the pan. Once the milk starts to boil, reduce the heat and add the lime juice, stirring continuously.
In few minutes, you see the milk splitting into small white clouds floating on top. Let the milk stand till the whey gets clear. This process takes few minutes, so wait at least five minutes. Switch off the heat and let it stand for few more minutes. Then pour the whole thing immediately into a clean cheese cloth in a sieve. Leave the sieved cheese for a while so that the water drains. In about 15 min or more tie the cloth tight enough and hang it under the sink and leave it over night to let the water drain well. Your cheese is ready!!! If not using immediately Refrigerate it until use.

Next step is making Gnocchi- I made up my own recipe as i cannot use eggs. It still was light and fluffy :)

Ricotta Gnocchi.

1 cup ricotta cheese

3-4 tbs Olive oil



Milk as required

Mix the above ingredients into a smooth dough using milk. Add milk gradually so that you don't over soften the mix. Once the dough is ready let is stand for 15 min. Then take a small piece of dough and roll it into a elongated tube. Cut the dough into 1/2 inch size pieces and keep aside. Using a fork I rolled each Gnocchi on it to give a ribbed texture. I heard some where that they mainly give ribbed texture to gnocchi so that the sauce clings well to the pasta. In the mean while keep a pot of water to boil with a pinch of salt and a few drops of olive oil, throw in your pasta and let them boil until they start floating on the top. This takes just a few minutes. Drain them well and ... Now your pasta is ready to be tossed!!!

For the sauce-

Basil pesto

1/2 cup Fresh cherry tomatoes sliced into half

Asparagus Cut into 3's

Few pimento olive's sliced.

In a pan heat a tbs of olive oil and add your pesto sauce. Stir in the Asparagus and let it tender down a bit, Add the Gnocchi and cherry tomatoes, Salt and pepper to season. Toss well to coat the pasta well with the sauce. Ready to be Served!! :)

Well the verdict for this challenge would be 'Great' I m really glad that i tried to make Gnocchi again which actually ended up in our tummies rather than the thrash can. :) I m sure to try a different variation soon again with a more basic sauce.

These Little pillows of heaven (as they are widely known as) are a must TRY!!!

Thanks to the Daring Cooks!!! for making me a better cook .......


  1. Your sauce looks lovely, I might have to make more just to try them that way !

  2. Great that these little pillows of yumm went into your tumm!! Bravo on doing your own ricotta and your gnocchi looks so professional and the sauce is fabulous. Looks like you had a great time doing this first challenge - hope you have many more happy challenges. Cheers from Australia - Audax

  3. Those look great! And I love the basil pesto....what perfect sauce for these.

    Great job!

  4. Gorgeous gnocchi and photos! Wonderful job!

  5. I wish I had tried to make my own ricotta!
    Your gnocchi's look so great, with the fork indentations.
    This will be a great variation to try in the summer with fresh garden basil and tomatoes. YUM!

  6. Well done. I should have made my own ricotta and paid the price for using store bought.

  7. The pesto and veggies are such a fresh springtime combination for the gnocchi!

  8. Homemade ricotta and pesto gnocchi, a favorite in my book!