Makes 4 servings
Hands-on time: 25 minutes with Sauteed Cherry Tomato Sauce, 15 minutes with bottled sauce
Total preparation time: 40 minutes with Sauteed Cherry Tomato Sauce, 35 minutes with bottled sauce
These are a snap to make (especially compared to the more traditional potato gnocchi.) You put a pot of water on to boil, throw all the ingredients into the mixer, and then drop small mounds of dough into the water. It is a rustic dish; the gnocchi can be misshapen. If you have a very small ice cream scoop kicking around, that’s the ideal tool for the job. Just dip it in warm water and pick up a mound of dough, which will fall easily into the water from the scoop. The homemade cherry tomato sauce is a delicious complement to the gnocchi but your favorite storebought tomato sauce is just fine in a pinch.
One 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 recipe Sauteed Cherry Tomato Sauce (recipe follows) or your favorite bottled sauce
2 ounces Italian Fontina cheese, coarsely grated (about 1/2 cup)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Beat the ricotta cheese and eggs together with an electric mixer until well combined. Stir in the flour, half of the Pecorino cheese, the salt, pepper, and nutmeg until just combined.
Scoop up a rounded tablespoon of the gnocchi dough, then use a second tablespoon to scoop the mixture off the spoon and into the boiling water. Repeat to make as many gnocchi as will fit in the saucepan without crowding. Simmer for 7 minutes. When they are cooked through, transfer the gnocchi with a slotted spoon to a shallow baking dish. Repeat until all the dough has been cooked.
Meanwhile, prepare the Sauteed Cherry Tomato Sauce. Spoon the sauce over the gnocchi and top with Fontina and remaining Pecorino cheeses and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese has melted.
Sauteed Cherry Tomato Sauce: Combine 1 large onion cut into 8 pieces and 6 garlic cloves in a food processor fitted with the chopping blade; pulse 2 to 3 times until coarsely chopped. Heat 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium; add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place one pint of cherry tomatoes in the food processor bowl and pulse 3 to 4 times, until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and repeat twice with 2 more pints cherry tomatoes. Add the chopped cherry tomatoes to the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until they form a sauce, about 10 minutes. Add kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste and serve over Ricotta Gnocchi. Top with 1 1/2 ounces Romano cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup) and 2 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh basil and oregano, if desired. Makes about 4 3/4 cups.