Last month, we asked food bloggers what they make for dinner when they’re home alone. Well, this month, we’re asking food bloggers to share easy pastas to make as the weather gets cooler. First up: Gnocchi by Alex and Sonja Overhiser of A Couple Cooks that uses ricotta instead of potatoes…

Ricotta Gnocchi
By Alex and Sonja Overhiser of A Couple Cooks

The first time we had gnocchi was on our honeymoon in Italy. We had no idea how to say it (ga-no-key?) but still fell in love with the pillowy potato puffs smothered in tangy tomato sauce.

Since then, we’ve learned the correct pronunciation (nyeo-key, where there “nyeo” is like the gn in “lasagna”), and even how to make them at home. Gnocchi is traditionally made with mashed potatoes, and takes quite a bit of time to put together: baking the potatoes, running them through a potato ricer, and making and rolling out the dough. This ricotta gnocchi is a simpler version that substitutes ricotta cheese without losing the robust flavor and fluffy texture.

This recipe works for Friday night date night, girls night, or Sunday afternoon fun with kids; it lets you get your hands dirty, but is quick enough to provide a tasty meal before attention spans wane. And with a bit of red wine, it’s an elegant meal to inspire dreams of the Mediterranean coast. Buon appetito!

Recipe: Ricotta Gnocchi
Serves 4

You’ll need:
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
16 oz. ricotta (about 2 cups)
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ cup finely grated Parmesan (plus more for serving)
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
One jar high-quality marinara sauce
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh basil (optional)

What to do:

In a large bowl, whisk egg and egg yolk. Add ricotta, pepper, Parmesan cheese and kosher salt, and mix until well combined. Add flour; stir just until combined and mixture forms a ball. Add more flour as necessary if the dough is too wet.

Making the gnocchi is easiest with some team work! Dust a rimmed baking sheet generously with flour. Have one person use 2 large soup spoons to shape heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into football shapes and then place them on the baking sheet. Have the other person roll the gnocchi with more flour so that they are coated (you should have around 50).

Cook gnocchi in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and tender, 5-6 minutes. (The gnocchi will quickly float to surface, but continue cooking for the entire 5 to 6 minutes until they are fully cooked.)

Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. In a skillet, heat a few drizzles olive oil, then add the gnocchi and gently pan fry for a few minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Add marinara sauce and stir to evenly coat.

Remove the pan from the heat and serve immediately. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil sliced in thin strips (chiffonade), if desired.

Thank you, Alex and Sonja!

P.S. More best recipes, including ricotta & honey crostini and Caesar salad with a twist.

(Photos and recipe by Alex and Sonja Overhiser of A Couple Cooks. Thanks to Shoko for helping with this series.)