A few weeks ago my husband and I met some friends at a local Mediterranean restaurant in my town. The Italian trained chef and owner creates magic in the kitchen. I had the ricotta gnocchi, so I am trying to recreate the outstanding meal that I had. I brought some leftovers home, and my son, the culinary student, gobbled them up. He thought the dish was outstanding. My creation is ricotta gnocchi with arugula pesto and pancetta.
I must confess, I had never eaten homemade ricotta gnocchi before and without a doubt I was pleasantly surprised. The texture was soft, not like the firmer texture of the more traditional gnocchi. What I like the most about gnocchi, any gnocchi that is, is that it is like a blank canvas. It will take on any sauce that you want to add to it.
I created this recipe for ricotta gnocchi with arugula pesto and pancetta recipe for our Sunday dinner last week, and it was a great success. The pancetta was my idea. Everything is better with bacon, right?
At first I thought that handling the ricotta "dough" was going to be tricky, but it really wasn't. The flour and Parmesan cheese definitely helped bind all the ingredients together. The lemon zest and pepper was also my idea, and I think it added a lot of depth of flavor.
Ricotta gnocchi with arugula pesto and pancetta is definitely a keeper, and one that without a doubt will appear at another time dressed a different way! You can also pair this with my quick and easy marinara sauce recipe if you prefer a red sauce.
Are you feeling extra crafty? Check out my recipe for Homemade Ricotta.
Finally, don't forget to share this recipe with your friends and family.
Ricotta Gnocchi with Arugula Pesto and Pancetta
- Prepare the gnocchi:
- In a large bowl place the ricotta and using a spatula mix well to break it up a bit. Next, slowly add the Parmesan cheese and stir well to combine.
- Add in the sifted flour in small increments (¼ cup at a time) to ensure that the mixture is even.
- Finally add in the pepper, salt, nutmeg, parsley, and lemon zest. Mix well and form the dough into a ball.
- Next, place the dough on a floured surface and divide it into 4 pieces.
- working with one ball at a time, roll it out into a rope that measures about 12" x ½"
- Cut gnocchi into 1" pieces with a sharp knife, and place on a floured baking sheet.
- Using the back of a fork, press down on each individual gnocchi. This step is optional.
- Place tray in the freezer, for about 30 minutes, or until the gnocchi are completely frozen.
- Boil water in a pasta pot.
- While the water is boiling start making the sauce.
- Place arugula, olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, garlic, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor, and blend on high until you have a thick paste. If the sauce seems too thick add another tablespoon of olive oil. Set aside.
- Cook the gnocchi a few at a time until they float (this indicates that they are ready).
- Cook the pancetta in a skillet until slightly brown, and transfer to a small plate to drain atop a paper towel.
- Finally, pour sauce over gnocchi and top with pancetta.