ricotta gnocchi with basil and fresh mozzarella

from alaskafromscratch.com

I’ve found that this improves with time; it seems that the sauce needs a little time to really soak into the gnocchi.  Also, I recommend making the gnocchi on the smallish side since that will allow the sauce to soak in even more.  The first time I made this I did not use fresh mozzarella and it turned out fine.  Also, I did not include the red chili flakes because I’m a wuss.

gnocchi:

1lb ricotta
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-1/2c flour
pinch of salt

sauce:

1T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (15oz) can plain tomato sauce
salt to taste (I don’t actually add any salt)
4-6oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
2T fresh basil

gnocchi:

In a mixing bowl, add egg to ricotta and stir to combine.  To that, add 1c of flour and pinch of salt.  Fold flour in gently until a soft dough forms.  If dough is sticky, add more of the reserved flour until it is no longer sticky.  Do not knead or over mix the dough (this will result in chewy gnocchi).

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and pinch off baseball-sized portions of dough.  Roll dough into a long snake, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.  The thinner the gnocchi, the more the sauce will be able to soak in.

Take a sharp knife and cut the snake into 1-inch pieces.  Repeat rolling and cutting steps with the rest of the dough.

Place a large pot of water on the stove over high heat.  Salt generously and bring to a boil.

When water is boiling steadily, carefully drop gnocchi in.  Grab a large slotted spoon and don’t walk away.  As soon as the gnocchi floats to the top, they are done.

sauce:

In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic stirring one minute, or until fragrant but without browning the garlic.  Add tomato sauce to the pan, followed by sugar and salt.  Turn heat to medium-low and allow to simmer while the gnocchi are cooking.

Add cooked gnocchi directly to sauce, stirring to coat, and remove from heat.  Toss in fresh mozzarella and basil.  Stir gently to combine.

cassoulet

from a runnersworld.com

I have edited the original recipe to be vegetarian friendly.  As such, there is no draining of fat or removing the meat before cooking the veggies.  I’ve listed the kind of ground meat I like to use.  Also, I have removed onions from the list as I do not like cooking with them.  My eyes are way too sensitive.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Smart Ground (by Lightlife)
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths
3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium zucchinis, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups canned tomatoes (and juice), chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 bay leaves
4 cups canned white beans, drained
2 cups vegetable stock

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add meat and cook about 1 minute.   Turn heat to medium, add garlic, carrots, celery, and zucchini; season with salt and pepper.  Cook five minutes, or until softened.  Add tomatoes and juice, meat, and herbs.  Bring to a boil.  Add beans and boil again, stirring occasionally; reduce heat so mixture bubbles gently.  Cook for 20 minutes, adding stock when mixture gets thick.  Serves four.

Jason and I like it to be “mushier” so I leave it simmering for about an hour.  It’s pretty delish either way.