I recently watched the BBC TV series ‘Two Greedy Italians’ featuring Gennaro Contaldo and Antonio Carluccio. I found the series by mistake on BBC iPlayer whilst searching for something else, but I’m so glad I did, as I absolutely loved it!
As you follow my blogs you will begin to gather that I adore Italy and all things Italian. This series really fuelled my desire for more things Italian, and inspired me to try out some new recipes. The first recipe I tried was for these Italian Ricotta Dumplings (a type of gnocchi) made in Episode 1 – ‘Family Recipes’, and I couldn’t resist making them. Had I not been watching the programme at gone 10pm, I would have gone to my kitchen straight away, but due to the lack of ricotta in my fridge, I waited until dinner time the next day, dreaming of how they might taste until that point! I’ll mention at this point that gnocchi with a blue cheese sauce is actually one of my many guilty pleasures, but one that I very rarely have, as I am the only one in my household who currently likes to eat it gnocchi (apparently). So, in an attempt to fool the little people in my family and adjust their taste buds, I stuck to calling them ‘Italian dumplings’ rather than gnocchi, and shared my excitement with them at what we would be eating for dinner that evening! Fortunately, my family share my love for Italy and Italian food especially, so these little ‘dumplings’ were an exciting prospect that day, and oh they were so worth the anticipation! We all loved them, and so as soon as I knew I was safe to announce they are actually a type of gnocchi, I did, and my family are now gnocchi-eaters! These dumplings are made from a few staple Italian ingredients, and are traditionally made in Gennaro’s home village, Minori, on the feast day of the town’s patron saint. They’re extremely easy to make, and are definitely going to become part of our family meals repertoire from now on. The recipe below is taken from the BBC website and all credit goes to Gennaro Contaldo (or his Grandmother and Mother!) for their deliciousness. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
Italian Ricotta Dumplings
For the Dumplings:
200g/7oz 00 flour
225g/8oz Ricotta Cheese
3 free-range egg yolks
30g/1oz fresh parmesan
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Salt & Pepper
For the sauce:
6 tbsp Olive Oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into thick slices
1 red chilli, sliced
2 x 400g/14oz cans chopped plum tomatoes
A few basil leaves
Mix the flour, ricotta, egg yolks, parmesan, nutmeg and seasoning together in a large bowl to form a soft, moist dough. Tip the mixture out onto a floured work surface and knead for 3-5 minutes. Roll the dough into a long, thin sausage shape, then cut into dumplings about 2cm/1in long. Cook the dumplings for 3-4 minutes in a large saucepan of salted boiling water.
Meanwhile for the sauce, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic and chilli for one minute, then remove the pan from the heat and add the plum tomatoes. Return the pan to the heat, bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes. Remove the dumplings from the pan with a slotted spoon and add them to the tomato sauce. To serve, spoon the dumplings onto a serving plate and sprinkle over the basil leaves.