This was a true culinary challenge for me, but it ended up being completely worth it in the end! Gnocchi is traditionally a pasta dumpling made out of potatoes but ricotta cheese has a similar texture to cooked potatoes, and therefore works well as a substitute. This pasta dish ended up tasting a lot like traditional lasagne, all that it was lacking was the pasta, which I didn’t miss at all!
1 container of fresh ricotta cheese (it should weigh approx 1.5 lbs)
1/4 – 1/2 cup flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
6 slices prosciutto
1 jar pre-made pasta sauce (tomato based)
1 lb ground pork
For the Sauce:
In a saucepan cook your ground pork in 1 tbsp of olive oil. While cooking your pork make sure to stir often to stop your meat from clumping. Also, make sure to season your pork before adding the sauce. When the pork is just cooked add your tomato sauce and let simmer for atleast 1 hour. This will enhance your flavor, and will make the pork taste like it was a part of the sauce from the get-go.
For the gnocchi:
1. Open your ricotta, and put into a fine strainer over a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let drain for 8 hours to over night. This will remove any excess milk and liquids in the ricotta which will help the dough form better.
2. After the ricotta has drained place in a bowl, add in eggs (already beaten), salt and pepper, nutmeg and flour. Add the flour slowly as you do not want to have a dough that is too hard. It is easier to make a dough harder then to soften it. Your dough will be just a bit firmer than muffin dough when everything has mixed.
3. Bring a pasta pot with salted water to a boil.
4. When the water is boiling begin to make your gnocchi. This is done by taking a tablespoon of gnocchi and forming an oval by rounding it out with a second spoon. This technique takes more finesse than I was expecting, therefore I recommend practicing this while the water is boiling.
5. As soon as you have shaped your gnocchi, drop into the water. When the gnocchi rises it is fully cooked. Remove from water and place in serving dish.
For the crispy prosciutto
1. Pre-heat your oven to 400
2. place your prosciutto on a baking sheet
3. bake your prosciutto until it darkens in color.
4. when cooked crumble and serve as a garnish.
Spoon a few tablespoons of sauce in the bottom of the bowl and gently place the ricotta on top. After the gnocchi is placed sprinkle the prosciutto on top!
Enjoy this dish!