Ricotta and Parmesan Dumplings with Tomato and Basil Sauce
I never got the hang of potato gnocchi. The couple of times I’ve made it, it’s turned out heavy and tough. I think it’s a case of too much flour, anyway, I gave it away for this lighter, simpler ricotta version (taken from the Two Greedy Italians), which I’ve made many times. I can honestly say it’s pretty much foolproof, just don’t overwork the dough or overcook the dumplings and she’ll be right. The nutmeg and parmesan give the dumplings a tasty bit of zip and the sauce is oh so simple and ripe for variation if you feel so inclined – add onions, fennel, capsicum, etc. For a little decadence, I like to drizzle some truffle oil on top at the table. Delicious.
200g ’00’ flour, plus extra for flouring
3 egg yolks
20g Parmesan, freshly grated
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
700g tinned plum tomatoes, chopped in half
a few basil leaves
6 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, cut into thick slices
Mix flour, ricotta, egg yolks, Parmesan, nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper together in a large bowl to form a soft, moist dough. Place on a floured work surface and knead for 3-5 minutes. With your hands, roll the dough into a long, thin sausage shape and then cut it at right angles into rectangular shapes about 2cm long.
Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil and add the dumplings. Wait until they rise to the surface again, then lower the heat and simmer for a further 2 minutes. Sometimes the dumplings get stuck on the bottom of the pan, so check this, otherwise they won’t rise.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Place the tomatoes and basil in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the garlic. When the garlic just begins to change colour, remove the pan from the heat and add the tomato mixture. Replace on the heat and cook gently for 4 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling.
Drain the dumplings with a slotted spoon and add to the tomato sauce. Mix thoroughly and serve immediately.