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Bright, savory and delicious, this gnocchi with garlic marinara can't be beat!

GNOCCHI WITH QUICK GARLIC MARINARA
Servings:

serving time2 to 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ricotta

  • 1 egg

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus 3/4 cup for dusting

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 5 cloves garlic, halved

  • Red pepper flakes

  • Salt

  • 6 medium-sized on-the-vine tomatoes, quartered or 1 container cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1/4 cup water, beer or wine

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, to garnish

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, add the egg and ricotta. Combine with a spatula. Add 1 1/4 cups flour and mix just until combined, less than a minute. Form a log with the dough, sprinkle with flour and cover with a clean rag.

  2. In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add the oil, garlic, red pepper to taste and a pinch of salt. Angle the pan to fully submerge the cloves in the oil, keeping them moving and sizzling. Once you see some color (3 to 5 minutes), add the tomatoes and about a 1/4 cup of water, beer or wine. Cover and reduce the heat to achieve a light simmer.

  3. Sprinkle a work surface with a little flour. Cut the dough ball into quarters. Starting with one piece, roll it into a rope about the thickness of a finger. Using a table knife, cut pieces from the rope about 1/2 inch long. For added texture, press each piece into the back of a fork and downward toward the counter. Repeat with all gnocchi and dough.

  4. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water, swirl the water with a slotted spoon and add the gnocchi. They will float to the top when ready.

  5. Remove the gnocchi from the water and add to the saute pan with the sauce, stirring to combine. Finish with a grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano and a little more olive oil.

GNOCCHI WITH QUICK GARLIC MARINARA
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Transcript

- Today we're going to make gnocchi with a quick marinara sauce. If you understand the root of the marinara of the mariner then you realize all marinaras are quick. The wives of the people on the ship, they'd go up to the top of their houses, they'd see their husbands coming into port and they'd say, I'm going to make a quick sauce. But here's the problem. If the marinara is quick to make, how do we make the gnocchi quick to make? The answer is with flour, one egg, and ricotta cheese. Just break up that egg. I sort of made a well in the middle here. I like to start in the bowl, I just think it's easier. And then bring it together. The amounts that I've given in the recipe are pretty close. But it's always gonna be a plus or minus five percent situation. And I don't want to overwork it either because that makes them a little bit too dense. Just cover it so it doesn't dry out. Now, we make the marinara. Now, this is where people love or hate this sauce. It's all about how you cook the garlic. I've been leaving the cloves whole because it gives you a much larger margin of error. If the outside burns then the inside is still perfect. One of the very first things I learned from an Italian friend and I thought he was kidding at the time was to take the garlic and just score it and that enables oil to penetrate into the inside but it also enables people who don't like garlic to pull it out. Wonderful. And now we'll cut up some tomatoes. So just cut them in half. This way they'll bleed their juices into the pan really really quickly. Oil into a hot pan. Really like a good amount. And now take that garlic. Submerge it. This is a really great opportunity to season and a little bit of heat in the oil is gonna be different than hot pepper at the end because this infuses the oil. This is the most important step here. Pay attention, give like 40-45 seconds to 65 seconds of undivided attention. See what's happening here? See how you're getting nice color on the edges? Right when that happens you come in with your tomatoes. Not bad. Ooh. So come in with the salt, lower that to low and cover it. This is going to steam the tomatoes and let them really decompose into a sauce that we created from cherry tomatoes rather than having pieces of tomatoes. This is very important. The top is important. Now, what do we do? We make the gnocchi. I really think the move is to just flatten it. Come in with the knife. Skinny pieces. Have a little extra flour. Come from above, make it snow and get all these guys straggly and different from each other. So just give it some love. Go skinnier than you think because they really absorb a lot of water and when they absorb water they swell. So think small. You can come in with a gnocchi board and sort of just go, bloop, like that. And you get ridges and you get this little thing on the back which in theory holds more sauce. Now, I know what you're thinking. Frank, I do not have a gnocchi board. Well, look they're perfectly fine just like this. But you could also use a fork. It's no problem. Come in and just do this. It kind of works. Make that water taste like the ocean or close to it. And now come in with your gnocchi. If you really want to be cool, give the water a spin first and then as you drop them in they'll naturally separate from themselves. We're waiting for them to float to the top. That's how we know they're done. So now we kill the heat here. Bring the gnocchi to the sauce. It's really important to mix it as soon as possible while these gnocchi are still receptive to absorbing more flavors. You want to come in with a little bit of cheese. I want it to be ooey gooey with a gorgeous sheen. Enough so that it spreads out flat. And that means you have to pay attention to the water content. You can come in with some water here. Gnocchi a la marinara. Look at that cheese, look at those pieces. Oh boy, we got problems here. It's just so good that I can't even plate it. How do we know if we did a good job with the water content? Here's the answer right here. You see how it starts to go flat? If it were dry and you didn't observe it for like, three minutes to see how much water it absorbs, it would stay as a mound. Ooh, fresh oregano. This can be basil, this can be parsley. That's it guys. So here we have a sauce that cooks really really quickly. We fry garlic, we put in cherry tomatoes and we steam the whole thing. These gnocchi take two minutes to boil and only like eight minutes to actually physically make. This is wonderful.