Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ricotta and Swiss Chard Gnocchi

 My dad never used to cook. He didn't need to - my mom was well known for her prowess in the kitchen. But when she died in 1986, cooking became a necessity for my dad - he isn't one for take-out food. Even though he's been remarried for 20 years, his culinary skills have grown along with his passion for cooking. On a recent visit, he prepared these gnocchi with a red pepper sauce and I was enchanted - they're light enough to practically melt in your mouth and they're a good way to use up some of the remaining swiss chard in my garden. The red pepper sauce is delicious and a little unexpected too.

 Don't like red pepper sauce? They're also divine with a simple melted butter and sage sauce. They're easy to make too. All you do is mix a few ingredients in a bowl and shape into ovals. These are sometimes called "gnudi" - the Italian word meaning "naked" since they're like a ravioli filling without the dough. 
Warning - I used swiss chard that had red stems and the gnocchi took on a pinkish shade. Upon cooking, they turn a little greyish - not the most attractive food color.
 But it doesn't matter because they're as light as a cloud and the red pepper sauce adds a beautiful color to the dish. Besides, you can cover it all with a sprinkle with parmesan - something I forgot to do it for the photos.

Ricotta and Swiss Chard Gnocchi or "gnudi"

printable recipe here

1 pound ricotta
1/2 cup flour, or more if needed
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 large egg
a bunch of swiss chard leaves (about a dozen large leaves, or more if they're small - you could also use spinach)
1/4 tsp. salt, pepper to taste
a grating of fresh nutmeg

Drain the ricotta overnight to get rid of excess water. Cook the swiss chard leaves in boiling water, drain and let cool. Squeeze out excess water and chop finely. Mix the ricotta, swiss chard and remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add more flour if necessary, but the least amount of flour you add, the lighter the gnocchi will be. Dust your hands with flour and roll into oblong shapes. Cook in a pot with ample water, salted until the gnocchi rise to the surface. Drain.

Serve with melted butter and sage, sprinkled with parmesan cheese, or with red pepper sauce - recipe below.

Red Pepper Sauce
1 shallot
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T. olive oil
8 oz. roasted red peppers - preferably homemade
1/3 c. white wine
1/3 c. chicken broth
salt, pepper to taste

Cook the shallot and garlic clove in the olive oil. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for five minutes, then put in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour back into saucepan to heat and serve with the gnocchi.

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Peter M said...

Good on your Father for cooking! I'm quite content with the roasted red pepper sauce, one large serving for me. ;)

Mister Meatball said...

Fine-lookin nyokes!

Must be the season. I was fixin to make em outta pumpkin this weekend.

bellini said...

Ig your dad wasn't already happily married we would snatch him up:D

christo AKA doggybloggy said...

boy how I wish I had your refined sensibilities and now I can see where you get them from- these look fantastic!

peachkins said...

these gnocchi looks fantastic!

Chiara said...

Linda che fantastico piatto!Bravissima! un bacione e buon weekend

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

The gnocchi look amazing and so does that red pepper sauce! A mouthwatering dish.



Stacey Snacks said...

Good for your dad! Lovely looking gnocchi.....I made butter and sage sauce last night for squash ravioli! Yum!

Claudia said...

You have convinced me to grow Swiss chard next summer (already planning next summer!). I adore red pepper sauce - and love the color contrast. Hooray for your Dad! My father's only prowess in the kitchen was with a can opener.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Amen to dads who learn to cook! I've always wanted to make ricotta gnocchi. I've had them once, and they certainly were as light as air. I was scouting around for a recipe. I love the idea of the red pepper sauce. That's so different.
PS: I haven't forgotten about the package I time, but it's coming soon. Very soon.

Marcellina said...

My dad is a good cook too. In fact, he taught me most because my mum died when I was only 9 years old. These gnocchi are brilliant and with red pepper sauce - perfect! My dad is a good cook but not with quite this much finesse!

MegSmith @ Cooking.In.College said...

Those look like the most amazing gnocchi ever! I have to make these soon! Wow..delicious

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I make these often, but I usually used well squeezed cooked spinach in mine. They do "melt in the mouth". I like your Dad's idea to use red pepper sauce! I'm going to try that next time I make them.

Frank said...

It's been a long while since I've made gnudi… but you've inspired me. Now I know what I'll be having for dinner next week!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Your dad sounds like a wonderful guy, I'd love to sit in his kitchen and gobble up these gnocchi, love the red pepper sauce served with this, oh yum!

Daniela said...

Complimenti al tuo babbo, questa ricetta mi piace molto, sono particolarmente attratta dalla salsa di peperone rosso. Avevo già sentito parlare di questa salsa , ma ancora non l'ho mai realizzata. la provo al piu' presto.
Buona settimana Daniela.

janie said...

My mouth is watering! Thank you for sharing. I think the only thing my dad ever made was bacon!

Sue/the view from great island said...

This is so unusual, and a great story to go along with it. I cannot for the life of me master gnocchi, but maybe I will have to give it one more try with your recipe.

The Food Hunter said...

What a great dad! The gnocchi and the sauce sound mouth watering.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

I have to admit I've never made gnocchi at home. I'm really tempted by this recipe, Linda, because it looks so delish, and manageable. I'll definitely try the red pepper sauce too.

Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris said...

With the coming of the cold weather, I'm becoming obsessed with the idea of making gnocchi. Your recipe is gorgeous..I love the sauce!

Patty said...

Cara Linda, splendidi gli gnudi. Da noi si fanno spesso. Hanno una forma un po' più rotonda ma ognuno li fa come vuole. Il sughetto di pomodoro fresco li esalta ma anche un burro alla salvia li rende felici! Un grande abbraccio, Pat

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I have done gnudi/ricotta gnocchi with both spinach and argula, but never though of swiss chard. Great way to expand the vegetable horizons. Love the red pepper sauce too. Butter would also be nice though.

I'm trying ot imagine what my husband would do for food if I kick the bucket first. I doubt he'd take up making his own gnocchi!

Barbara said...

These look delicious, Linda! I like the addition of red Swiss chard, even if it did turn an earthy color.

Kevin said...

I like the sound of using swiss chard in gnocchi and that red pepper sauce sounds really good!