Meatless Monday: Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi

This week’s Meatless Monday meal is a DOUBLE homemade ricotta gnocchi! It is double because not only did I make the gnocchi, I made the ricotta in the gnocchi.

I started with the delicious Maple View whole milk that I got at the Cary Downtown Farmers Market from Queen B. Making homemade ricotta (which is different from “real” ricotta, but it tastes good anyway) is even easier than making yogurt. You just heat up the milk and a little salt to almost boiling, then take the pot off the heat, add 1 tablespoon of acid (usually lemon juice or vinegar–I used white wine vinegar) per cup of milk, and let it separate into curds of cheese floating in an ocean of whey. Drain the ricotta through a cheesecloth-covered colander and let it sit for a while to remove excess liquid. Add there’s your ricotta!

The gnocchi itself was easy as well. I used this recipe by my man Kenji at Serious Eats: You add parmesan, eggs, salt and black pepper, and flour (I used gluten-free) to make a dough that you roll out into coils and cut to individual gnocchi size. I even have an authentic gnocchi mold to roll them on to create the traditional grooves that help to capture the sauce (I got it on our trip to New York City for my son’s 18th birthday). But if you don’t have a mold, you can press fork tines into them to make some grooves.

Before I started on the gnocchi, I made my usual Farmers Market fresh tomato sauce using vegetables from Parker Farm, Sapony Creek, and LB Farm:

So that’s heirloom tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, basil, and some chiles because we like a kick to our sauce, but leave those out if you prefer milder sauce. Cook in the Instant Pot for 20 minutes, puree with the immersion blender, add some tomato paste if it is too thin, and you have a fresh, healthy tomato sauce for your gnocchi.

The gnocchi boil in like 3 minutes–once they all float to the top, they are done.

Add a quick saute of some LB broccolini, some fresh garlic bread from a local bakery, and it’s dinner time!

Delish! Light and fluffy gnocchi with a fresh tomato sauce. Plus, it really is quick and easy. It sounds really impressive to guests who don’t know how little time and effort is actually involved. If you are looking for a fresh, natural, light summer meal to dazzle your date, this is it!

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