Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ricotta Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Marjoram

"Is this what you mean Julia, when you say never crowd the mushrooms?"
-Julie Powell (Julie & Julia)
I was pleasantly surprised at the way the gnocchi held together in the boiling water. Still, handle these little dumplings with some care. I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour which I do think was a mistake. It made them a little grainy, an outcome which had not really crossed my mind. If anything I expected them to be a little dense or heavy or in the worst case scenario, like lead balls. (We've all had those right? Some awful doughy blobs that call themselves gnocchi and make you feel about 5lbs heavier and slightly sick with every bite). Well, these were nothing like that. They were light and airy to spite the flour. Are they better than traditional potato gnocchi? I don't think so, but they are different and so much simpler than you would ever expect. 

Just be sure to use white flour, and take a tip from Julia Childs; Never crowd the mushrooms.

Picture Courtesy of Bryan Kallen

Ricotta Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Marjoram
Adapted from Bon Appetit. I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour. In the future I would try white whole wheat or maybe even give in and just go for the unbleached all purpose flour. As I said in the introduction the ww pastry made it too grainy and some things just taste better with refined flour. For the ricotta I used part-skim and had good results but if you have no issue with full fat dairy, go for the full fat. It will be that much smoother and creamier. I used cremini and baby bella mushrooms sheerly because I was able to buy them loose (the environmentalist in me prefers as little wasted packaging as possible). Shitake, maitake, and oyster mushrooms would probably be even better. Serves 6

  • 1 pound (about 2 1/4 cups) fresh ricotta cheese (homemade is best but it won't kill you if you buy it)
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup all purpose flour (see headnotes)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup grated Grana Padano (Parmesan or Romano would also work fine)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground black pepper


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound assorted wild mushrooms, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces (see headnotes)
  • 4 green onions; white and pale green parts finely chopped, dark green parts thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (I like Bonterra Organic Chardonnay) It's inexpensive, easy to find and delicious)
  • 1/2 cup (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup grated Grana Padano cheese plus additional for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves

    Place ricotta in strainer set over medium bowl. Chill until ricotta has texture of wet clay, about 1 hour.
    Mix ricotta, 1/2 cup flour, egg, and next 5 ingredients in medium bowl, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough is slightly sticky (do not add more than 4 tablespoonfuls). Cover and chill 30 minutes.

  • Sprinkle rimmed baking sheet generously with flour. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface. Cut into 4 equal pieces. Using hands, roll 1 piece on floured surface into 3/4-inch-wide log. Cut log crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Place gnocchi on prepared baking sheet, spacing apart. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover gnocchi with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

    Heat olive oil in large skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms; sauté until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add chopped white and pale green parts of green onions. Sauté 1 minute. Add wine; stir until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth. Stir until sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. 
    DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

  • Working in 2 batches, add gnocchi to large pot of boiling salted water, stirring to prevent sticking. Boil until gnocchi rise to surface of water, then continue boiling until cooked through, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes longer. Using slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to skillet with mushrooms. Add sliced dark green parts of green onions.

  • Rewarm mushrooms with gnocchi and green onions over medium heat, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if dry. Remove from heat. Add 1/4 cup cheese, butter, and marjoram; stir until cheese and butter melt. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to plates and sprinkle with additional cheese.
    Picture Courtesy of Bryan Kallen
    Picture Courtesy of Bryan Kallen


  1. Lisa,
    I'm pretty sure we have the same brain, cooking-wise. The day before you posted your recipe for lemon curd, I was making lemon squares. Over Christmas break, I made venison. I just bought ingredients today to make ricotta gnocchi, and I check your blog and it's on here. So funny! I love your blog, and your photography is so much better than mine! Keep up the good work!

  2. bhahah bonnie that's so funny i love yours too! (ps i'm so happy you commented cause it makes me feel less like i'm sending things off into cyber space lol)

  3. omg Lisa...this sounds sooo good/look soo good!!!

  4. i love to make gnocchi (traditional potatoe) reminds me of my grandmother who taught me and my boys love it - can't wait to try ricotta gnocchi w/mushrooms & marjoram - never made gnocchi any other way - time to shake it up - i.m intrigued by the combo of ingredients - thanks pat; massapequa, ny


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