Ricotta Gnocchi / Onion jam / Cima di Rapa

As you might know if you read this article, there is a little tradition in this house called Italian Tuesday. It quickly became our favorite day of the week, with good, belly filling food, rich red wine and funky Italian music from the sixties that gets us dancing around the kitchen in joy. 

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This is a fancier recipe than what we might have most weeks (read : spaghetti on repeat). Ricotta gnocchi is both much faster to make than its potato based counterpart, much harder to mess up, and gets a nice tang from the ricotta making it fresher and lighter. Or so it seems anyways. Think soft little pillows of happiness. 

I paired them today with what I had in the fridge : a boozy onion jam (the recipe comes from the great Caravan book ) and some butter fried Cima di Rapa that was long overdue. Cima di Rapa is popular in Italy, which makes it perfect for this dish of course, but it also has a nice bitterness working really well with the sweetness of the jam and the creaminess of the gnocchi. I had none and felt no need to, but feel free to add some crème fraîche or normal cream to bind it all together. You could also add some nuts in there for the crunchy component, or toasted breadcrumbs if feeling quite indulgent. 

For 2 hungry people you will need :

  • 250g ricotta                                                                                                                                   
  • 130g flour (adjust depending on the amount of liquid your ricotta contains)                               
  •  75 g grated parmiggiano or pecorino                                                                                               
  •  1 egg

In a large bowl simply mix together the ricotta, egg and parmiggiano before you add in the flour. The mixture should stick together but not be too dry. Refrain from adding more flour than necessary to handle, or from overworking the dough : less gluten = less elasticity and more soft pillowy gnocchi. 

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Roll them out either in little logs that you then slice, or straight into little balls in your floured hands. You can use a fork to give them the characteristic stripes, but it's optional. 

Throw them in salted water at a rolling boil. When they start floating give them another thirty seconds and fish them out. Put aside.

For one big jar of onion jam (trust me, you'll want more for the rest of your week)

  • 1kg mixed onions (red, white and yellow)                                                                                     
  • 100g muscovado sugar (or more to taste)                                                                               
  • 250mL red wine (the better the wine the better the end product, don't go too cheap here)

In a large saucepan (very large) heat a bit of olive oil on medium-heat, add in your (peeled and sliced) onions and let them melt down. You want the onions to cook but not color too much. Refrain from turning the heat up, keep an eye on them, and give them about half an hour until they taste sweet and lost almost their crunch.       

 At that point you can add the wine and sugar. Your jam will be ready when the liquid has almost entirely reduced but the mix should not look too dry. At that point you can put this in a clean jar and into the fridge. It will keep for about two weeks, probably more.

In a pan heat a knob of butter, let it sizzle then add in the greens of your choice (blanch them beforehand if they are old or stalky like kale or Cima di Rapa; no need if you are using spinach or chards) and the drained gnocchi to color them a little. Add in the onion jam to warm it up if it was in the fridge and serve. 

 

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