Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Ricotta Gnocchi with a Simple Tomato Sauce

What’s your favorite day to cook? Is there a point in the week when you most enjoy the process of creating a meal for yourself or to share with others? For me, it’s usually Friday. I cook a lot on Fridays, prep things for the weekend, and get excited to try new recipes. For a professional chef, the weekend falls on Monday and Tuesday. The new book, At Home in the Kitchen: Simple Recipes from a Chef's Night Off by David Kinch, of which I received a review copy, is all about his Tuesday cooking. That’s his Sunday. Unlike the dishes prepared at his restaurant Manresa, his home cooking is a far more relaxed situation. He shares the straightforward, crowd-pleasing dishes he offers to friends who join him at his “Pink Palace” California home for those days off. Music is a big part of those days as well, and each recipe in the book comes with a song suggestion. At the start, there are some basics like a few stocks, pickles, croutons, and mayo. The Chickpea Stock reminded me that I’d previously learned how dried chickpeas can add a good flavor boost to homemade stock, but I never seem to remember to try it. Here, the stock is completely chickpea-focused. It’s recommended for the Minestrone with pesto recipe found a few chapters later that I have to try while I have lots of basil growing. The first thing I tried was the Spicy Sesame Cucumber with Avocado salad. It’s thick and lovely from the smashed avocado, bright and fresh from the cucumber, and spicy with jalapeno. If you’re looking to take your grilled cheese sandwich to a new level, the version here comes with a crispy cheese veil. Cheese is browned in the pan, and the finished sandwich is set on top of it so you can lift the cheese up the sides of the sandwich with a spatula and then serve it crispy cheese side up. In the pasta chapter, there’s a walnut sauce made with ricotta that’s garnished with fried marjoram leaves, and that’s on my to-try list as well. There are meat and seafood dishes and Jambalaya, Paella, and California Crab Boil, but the vegetable dishes kept calling out to me. Another one to try is the Eggplant with Black Olive Tapenade made with thick slices of eggplant. For dessert, there are not-too-sweet options with lots of fruit. I like the idea of the Rice Pudding Sundae served with various options for toppings. And, the last chapter is drinks with a couple of sangrias perfectly suited to entertaining. The dish I want to talk more about today, though, is the Ricotta Gnocchi with a Simple Tomato Sauce. 

This is such a simple gnocchi recipe. It’s just a mix of ricotta and flour. I made it vegan by using a plant-based ricotta, and I mixed in some chopped basil. The mixture was patted into a one inch thick square and cut into wide slices. Each slice was rolled into a long log and then cut into little pillows. The pillows were rolled over with a fork to give them a curved shape. They were quickly cooked for about a minute in boiling water. For the sauce, I started with fresh, fabulous, local tomatoes. They were peeled by dropping them in boiling water, transferring them to ice water, and pulling off the skins. Cutting an X in the bottom of each tomato before boiling helps with pulling off the skins. They were seeded and then pureed in the blender. Finely chopped shallots were cooked in lots of olive oil, and I added garlic as well. Then, the tomato puree was added with salt and pepper and left to simmer for a bit. The sauce and cooked gnocchi were combined and topped, in my case, with basil although pecorino would also be great. 

This fresh tomato sauce made with just-picked, ripe tomatoes can’t be beat. As it goes here, our local tomato season is on the decline by August. I miss it already. But, the gnocchi could be made any time, and they’re so quick to pull together there’s no reason not to. I lack a Pink Palace near the beach, but I’ll have fun cooking the same fare enjoyed there.

I am a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program. 


  1. Love gnocchi! Although I often make them with potato, I think ricotta-based ones might be better. Lovely dish -- nice and simple, and simple tomato sauces are a great use of summer tomatoes. Sounds like a great book -- thanks.

  2. It might be simple, but definitely loaded with freshness and flavours!

  3. That's an interesting comment about chick peas adding more flavor. I've been making lots of Macarons recently and I understand you could substitute egg whites with chick pea liquid- one day I'll have to give it a try! Hmm, now which song would I cook your gnocchi dish to? I'm afraid I'm still stuck on songs from the 60s and 70s. Any ideas?

    1. David Kinich recommends playing Ali Baba by John Holt with the gnocchi. Sorry, that's also from the 70s!

  4. I imagine the gnocchi just melt in your mouth. I've never made gnocchi with cheese, only with potatoes. But in my mind, I know that this is delicious. Can't wait to try it!! Thank you!


Blogging tips